Teenage Violence At Home

About us

June 20, 2014 Poster Uncategorized

Three children adopted from Africa made our dream of a family complete.

But the adoption turned into a tragic family journey. Inept bureaucracy, extreme mental health issues, and a system that failed to support a loving family, left us broken, with two vulnerable children lost, one on the streets.

Yes, they subjected us to years of domestic violence but we still love them and believe they are vulnerable and victims of system which misplaces its support… Helping them instead of the family unit.

We dealt with predicted difficulties, with many severe health issues such as malnutrition, skin conditions, poor teeth, and even surgery for hearing loss, all sustained through lack of early health management.

The language barrier was another major challenge. Cultural differences led to many a wrangle.

However, these were to be small problems in the overwhelming shadow of what was to come.

Our oldest child, our son, was acutely affected by cultural and gender issues, a controlling nature and an all-consuming need to lead. What was thought to be post-traumatic stress was blamed for his frequent psychotic and violent episodes which escalated as he grew. He subjected us to years of domestic violence behind closed doors.

He was later diagnosed with the then little known and largely misunderstood condition called Reactive Attachment Disorder. Our middle daughter also displayed all the symptoms of the same disorder, although in her case the traits were more about quiet control and introversion rather than overt violent tendencies.

While most children will accept punishment, accept the word no, may temporarily rage but then return to the loving fold of the family, RAD children have no such bond or even a feeling or need for love, acceptance, discipline and security. The smallest rebuke can send them wild. And, in the end, the smallest consequence led our children to find alternative lives where they felt there would be no boundaries, without ever looking back, without ever considering the family that loved them so much.

Over their teen years in particular, our children, particularly our son would run life at breakneck speed. At home, the door would close and he would either collapse, or within moments – being strung so tight – he would lash out, rage violently, run away, apply hurt with no thought, then or later, for any other feelings than his own. Sometimes the hurt was physical abuse.

Our family lived in fear of him.

We worked steadily, using gentle parenting to repair the damage, constantly, lovingly, to reassure, offer love and security, despite times when we were physically hurt and beaten by own children. Every day was a treading-eggshells challenge to keep the peace, to avoid a psychotic episode.

In the end, about a year apart, our oldest children left… ran away secretly, without a word. Our son was to find his idea of freedom on the streets, eventually getting into so much trouble that his police record covers a thick wad of documents. He has been jailed, detained and sent to rehabilitation.

Our daughter was lured by insensitive people who took her in for whatever reasons, never bothering to contact her family to reassure them of her safety, let alone explain their motives.

Our third child, a daughter, has grown up to be a calm, intelligent and caring family member, now mid-teens and doing well on all counts.

She, also, was subjected to the domestic terror applied by her brother, and the vindictive nature of her sister.

We continue to wrestle with nightmares and extreme sadness

3 Responses to “About us”

  • Poster says:

    Am hoping this will be a great space for discussion about what happens to our teens and how we cope. Am sure the stories will be helpful, to families experiencing all levels of teen angst.
    DM.

  • Rachel says:

    Thankyou for having the courage to share your story. I found your site tonight in desperation after my son tried to assault me (again). I believe he has a disorder called PDA but no-one is listening to me about this. It is a type of autism. He can be very loving but then suddenly attacks verbally, or occasionally physically. I hope your blog will help others too. I want to say to you well done for parenting your children with love, you have done a good job, despite the outcome being out of your influence for your older two children. Blessings.

    • Poster says:

      Dear Rachel,
      I will listen to you. Loving a child who lashes out with such force and you know it’s dangerous to stay close by, is nothing more than… heart-breaking.
      Then finding that no one else seems to hear or want to believe what you’re saying or just simply doesn’t comprehend what you are trying to describe, is a bit like being squashed. A very learned man once told my husband and myself it is called domestic violence. Don’t be shocked, there are other families who live with this but it’s just not talked about.
      Perhaps we can instigate some conversation and maybe even some helpful suggestions for you and your son.
      I’m reluctant to presume I have anything helpful for you but my immediate thought is has your son had an EEG ? A very specialised/painless test to determine if epilepsy, autism or any other disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome might be the cause. Most importantly take courage and take just one day at a time and keep searching for answers. Stay Safe and God Bless.


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