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Please help- DC said I smack him

15 replies

Cabawill · 26/09/2016 12:32

We applied to the Adoption Support Fund to assess and see if they could offer some support/therapy with our AS (7) and AD (5). The psychologist has been to school to see them today and AS whilst playing one of the games has said something to her about me smacking him.

She's called to say that she has to report this (I was in shock so not sure who she said) and she's doing my AD this afternoon. She's previously said about us smacking/biting/scratching her within the first 6 months of placement and we duly reported this to our SW who spoke to her and she admitted to making it up as a "story" so no action was taken.

They've been with us 20 months and were neglected terribly with BM. I'm terrified that AD is going to "make up a story" and if they've both said it then they'll think it's true.

What is likely to happen now? I feel sick. Any advice please. Am I likely to have someone turn up here and take them?

OP posts:
Cabawill · 26/09/2016 12:34

Oh and I have never bitten, smacked or scratched them purposefully. I scratched my sons cheek with a button on a hoody once and he seemed to love telling everyone that "mummy scratched me"

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RatherBeIndoors · 26/09/2016 12:42

You poor thing, how scary and sad for you to hear. I would sincerely hope that any psychologist working in adoption would fully understand that children who have experienced trauma and neglect can process it in different ways, and one of those ways is to "re-live" or "re-tell" what happened as if it was happening now. It's also not unusual for children to make sure they get attention from adults around them in this way, especially if their previous life has been chaotic and adults have been unreliable, so the children have learned that they need to "spread their bets" and keep the attention of all the adults around them. It's utterly tragic, but it takes a long time to build security and trust, and find healthy ways for them to express their past experiences.

If this were happening to another family, it would be easier for you to remember that any professionals who have a disclosure like this made to them are obligated to report it, and to follow up on it, because in some of those cases they will be protecting the children from risk of serious harm. However, they are going to look at this in the context of what your children have previously known in their life, and as incredibly hard as it is, you need to trust them to do that and follow the process right now.

Am I right that if you're applying to the ASF, you already have your AO? If so, these are legally your children, you are their family. People are not going to swoop in and split you up, but I expect people will want to talk to you and perhaps keep a close eye for a little bit - if you are needing extra support (and you are early in placement really, with two children) then that close eye can become a really good thing because someone should hear what you are trying to say about your children's needs.

Take care of yourself and go very, very gently. I know this hurts and is frightening, but if you can, hold on to the fact that this is not about you, or your parenting, or even about how your child feels about you - this is about them expressing pain, caused before you even met them Flowers

Cabawill · 26/09/2016 12:59

Thank you Rather for your fab reply. It has made me take a step back from it being so personal. I do understand that she has to report it. She's lovely as well.

We are post AO (Dec 15) and I've been asking for help and support for over a year as they are both very challenging- in totally opposite ways which makes it even harder.

DD is very attention seeking and dramatic as you describe and once told a dinner lady that she "will kill herself" when they said there were no jacket potatoes left!

I did ask her about the rest of the questions and she said his face lit up when talking about me and that when asked who loves him best he said me etc. She said he didn't seem scared, anxious or worried about home or me at all.

I just don't know how to feel about it as I know they've been through so so much and he wouldn't do it maliciously. But I can't help feeling hurt.

OP posts:
MypocketsarelikeNarnia · 26/09/2016 13:07


Poor poor you. Of course you are hurt. You would have to be superhuman and weird to be entirely accepting and relaxed about something like that and that that isn't in the job description (as yet).

Smacking isn't something that would cause your children to be removed anyway. I know that's not the point really but you can relax about them turning up and taking the dc away. It sounds as though they have a balanced view of what is going on at home with one outlying comment from a traumatised child - they will see that for what it is.

luckylambchop · 26/09/2016 13:29

Hi there. I don't know if this will help you at all but I just wanted to say that my DD, who is not adopted, went through a phase of saying I hit her (I never have). I do realise that you have to handle things differently sometimes but I thought it may help to know that it is not necessarily linked to the child being adopted. Hope this helps but feel free to ignore me if not! :)

RatherBeIndoors · 26/09/2016 13:36

I think it's really important to be able to be honest about how deeply it hurts - obviously not with your child, but to have a trusted person you can really talk to and let the feelings about this out. No matter what we know with our heads, it doesn't stop our hearts feeling the pain, and it's massively hard to carry that.

Cabawill · 26/09/2016 13:42

I think being superhuman should be in the job description! We have had a real improvement in behaviour and our relationship as a family since we had a brilliant summer holidays together. It was so hard at first putting in boundaries/expectations whilst also trying to parent therapeutically but now they now what the rules are its been better.

I also can't say that I haven't lost my temper and shouted on occasion because I have, but I always try to mend the bond as soon as possible.

OP posts:
tldr · 26/09/2016 14:05

caba Flowers

I agree with rather and Narnia. Seeking help is/was/still is the right thing to do. Please try and not worry.

PoppyStellar · 26/09/2016 15:45

This must be horrendously difficult for you but please try not to worry. Lots of excellent advice from other posters but just wanted to reassure you that this happens to others.

DD went through a phase when relatively newly placed (in first couple of years) of saying that I had hit her or hurt her whenever she didn't like what she was being told (things as relatively simple as 'no you can't watch tv' or 'no, you have to eat your tea first') or sometimes if I placed my hand on her arm or shoulder to gently guide her. It was exhausting and heartbreaking, and she was only saying this to me so I didn't have your additional stresses. Fast forward a couple more years and as she is feeling more secure the behaviour has stopped.

I honestly think you have nothing to worry about and SS will hopefully be able to use this as springboard to providing further support.

I really feel for you. Take great comfort from the fact your children's faces lit up when talking about you. This speaks volumes about the great job you have done in parenting them so far.

We all lose our temper and shout at times. I always try and make a point of apologising to DD afterwards if I do this, to try and model the behaviour I'm trying to teach her which is that we are all human and make mistakes.

You are not alone. Flowers

Cabawill · 26/09/2016 19:06

Thank you so much everyone. Only got a sec as just about to do bedtime.

Have gently spoken to DS about what he did with "the lady" today. He never mentioned the smacking so I asked him about it.

He said he moved the card that said "smacks me" to the area "nobody" and said "my mummy said she'll never smack me again. She promised." Now, this is actually true. When they first came to us, we discussed consequences for actions. We decided on time in and for very serious things, no tablet (they have 15 mins each day). He said "what about a smacked bum? If we're really naughty you might smack us might you?" I said "I will never, ever smack you. We have kind hands and words in this house. You will never be smacked again, I promise."

That explains a lot. I feel a lot more at ease now it's a misunderstanding.

OP posts:
PoppyStellar · 26/09/2016 19:24

I'm really glad for you

RatherBeIndoors · 26/09/2016 19:31

Oh that's such a help, that he's able to express that to you, and that he clearly remembered (and started to trust a bit) that message from you all that time again. I hope you get some rest tonight knowing that, although things got jumbled up, what's underneath is a child who's face lights up when they talk about you, and who trusts you enough to talk openly with you - well done you.

crispandcheesesanwichplease · 27/09/2016 15:32

We used to get this for years from our adopted DD. From aged 2 up until about 6. She used to pretend I'd hurt her when picking her up, tell me other kids at school had hurt her, accused several family members of hitting her when I had witnessed incidents and no such thing had happened.

I don't know exactly why she did it but it used to really scare me shitless and drive me mad. I worried both in terms of being investigated and also that there might come a time when someone did hurt her and I didn't believe her. I also worried that this behaviour made her vulnerable. If people were aware that she made allegations up they might use this to their advantage.

Advice to you OP - keep repeating, year in and year out, that this behaviour makes it very difficult for you to protect him if he does get hurt. Also (I did this and it felt like a gamble at the time) make sure that professionals around you are made aware of these false allegations.

It's a horrible situation, I felt that by telling people my daughter made false allegations I was trying to cover up actual abuse IYKWIM. But I had to get the info out there.

But, eventually this behaviour did stop. We still get quite a bit of pretending to be ill and general lies but not the made up allegations.

I do think that as time goes by and your children experience safe and stable parenting over a prolonged period that the fibs decline.

Cabawill · 27/09/2016 20:58

Just wanted to come back on and say thank you to all of you who took the time to reply- you really helped me as I was in a right state.

I worried that I'd not given the right response when she called as I was caught completely off guard and just kind of said "Oh". I never even said that I hadn't done it. I mean what are you supposed to say to something untrue like that? You don't want to call your child a liar or protest too much and they might think you've got something to hide.

Anyhow, the LA have said that smacking your own child isn't illegal and doesn't reach the safeguarding threshold needed for a visit, but it has been noted.

I've sat them both down and explained that they always need to be clear what they say to adults about being hurt etc as if people think they're not safe at home then they have to look into it. Also that telling the truth is important and if you're telling a story you say it's a story.

cheese I take heart that these kinds of things will decline. DD seemed to stop when the teachers realised that these tales were just attention seeking behaviours. It does make me sad to think that no one would believe her though now If she was being smacked at home.

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crispandcheesesanwichplease · 28/09/2016 20:02

It can be incredibly stressful Cabawill. But take heart that there's at least a few of us on here who have been through it.

I think for adopters in particular, who have been subject to such scrutiny and intrusion through the adoption assessment process, are sensitive to being judged on our parenting. I certainly was/am. We're doing our best to therapeutically parent traumatised children. We are not robots and like any other parents we are faced with unexpected situations that throw us.

Take heart and keep that love and patience flowing. 10 years down the line for me and things are much, much easier now.

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