Teenage Violence At Home

What to name this dysfunction. Who do we ask for help?

August 9, 2014 Poster Uncategorized

Our (adopted) children, all seriously malnourished. Each of those children much loved and wanted by us. Our adoption journey had been long (almost 6 years) and we had become very resilient and totally committed parents even before meeting our kids.

We recognised violent expressions of dysfunction from the older two of our three children but it was our first priority to address all of their medical issues which were so badly needed.  Those needs took several months and in some instances years to correct.

All the while we were tackling violence at home. Punching, slapping, scratching, screaming, hiding an object and pulling it out to use as a weapon. These are just some of the behaviours. One of the worst things we saw on a daily basis was how our son dominated his sister without any argument from her. He could deal out any treatment without an argument or even a flinch from her.

Initially we hoped that time and our love as parents would change all of that.

We are very peaceful people and don’t shout to each other or ever raise a hand in anger. We had decided to stay strong as a couple and teach by example. If we disagreed we didn’t hide it but we showed there is another way of settling differences. We established definite boundaries based on respect. We weren’t perfect and also made a point of acknowledging our mistakes. The word ‘sorry’ was something both of our big kids couldn’t or wouldn’t say. We had to find out why.

We needed to be sure there weren’t other reasons for the unexplained rages lasting an hour or more, blank stares and withdrawal from any attempt at comforting, we often saw this …always at home.

Socially our children were charming.   It seemed they were choosing different behaviours in different situations.                                                                                                                                                              We searched for answers turning to various specialists. There was no evidence of brain damage or biological imbalances. Epilepsy, Asperger’s syndrome and Autism ruled out.

We turned to child mental health and through the children’s school found a psychologist prepared to meet with us and guide us through, to understand different behaviours without causing more trauma to our kids. Confrontation didn’t work so we developed skills to create some sort of family harmony. We had to be forever vigilant and find ways of acceptable compromise. That was the key in those early years. Firstly to find a mental health professional we had a rapport with. Someone who was able to come up with real strategies and then allowed us to translate that into our family dynamics.

For the most part it helped us place some order into all of our lives. We realised our older children had come to us with serious trauma issues but we still didn’t really know the extent of how much damage they could cause us personally.


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