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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all

I am a 28 year old Aunt. The story is I was living in Illinois when my two nephews now 2 (as of February 4th) and 7 were removed by CPS. My aunt had them the first week than her and my uncle sent them back through no fault of the kids. I was able to finally get back to Washington State the 20th of November, got to see the kids and 5 days later had them with me. The first month or so went pretty well aside from the 2 visits with mom on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The oldest at 7 has had behavior problems the last couple of months progressively getting worse the last couple of weeks more so. Especially at school. I had to go pick him up today when he got kicked out of school. He has been hitting, kicking and pushing other kids. He even hit his teacher last week. He has been screaming at the teacher during class, crawling on the floor, hitting kicking the book cases, boxes and throwing books. This behavior has been starting at home now too. When mad he kicks at his younger brother and has hit, kicked and bit me a couple of times. What worries me the most is he hits and bites himself and threatens to kill himself.

I will not give up on him. I am hoping and praying the sweet, respectful little boy I knew last year is still somewhere in there.

I have already tried time outs and taking away all of his privileges, toys etc and he just seems to be getting worse. He sees a counselor at school every Monday and I am working at getting him into more counseling outside of school and hoping maybe we can make some progress through that.

I am hoping that maybe someone here has some advice for me?

It hurts me as his auntie to see him so hurt and struggling so bad and I am really at a loss as to what I can do to help him.
 

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Do the kids have a social worker? I mean... this kid, he sounds traumatized. I think he needs intensive therapy, and an evaluation regarding what abuse he may have experienced, and probably more help than he can get from the school counselor.

The sweet, respectful kid from last year has been through a lot, and is hurting really badly. What you saw then may have been an abused child trying to avoI'd punishment, and what you see now may be a child trying to process his experiences and his feelings about them, with wildly inadequate tools (because he's seven). I'm sure he was a lot more manageable last year, but that doesn't mean he was healthy. And he clearly isn't healthy now, but he is in a much better situation, with someone who can help him with his real needs.

This is going to be a really rough ride. Ask for all the help you can IRL. CPS has been involved, so start there - what resources do they know about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just from what I have seen when they are with their mother I know he has probably been through alot more that I haven't seen. My sister always treated that boy like she should until she got together with youngest father and that's when things spiraled downhill (about 3 years ago now) but I didn't know just how bad until CPS got involved and I got the kids. Me and her hadn't been speaking for the past year because of her violent and abusiveness towards me both verbally and physically.

They do have a Social Worker but she has been almost impossible to get ahold of. I just now have her email after 2 weeks. Our last social worker quit without telling us anything and I didn't find out until 2 weeks later. From what I have heard he has always had trouble in school with paying attention but I don't think things ever got physical before. I am making him a doctors appointment today while I am there with his brother and am arranging for more intensive counseling during the week. The counselor at his school works from an outside agency and is more experienced that your typical school counselor but I agree I don't think it's enough for him.

Mom has no visitation right now until a meeting is setup because of her actions a couple of weeks ago. I had a birthday party for the youngest and the oldest was going home with Grandpa because of his behavior and she caused a huge scene, grabbed him out of out the car and wouldn't let him come to me or me anywhere near him. Staff at the YMCA had to take him from her and the police were called. She told him that he wasn't going to be staying with me anymore and this poor kid was terrified for the better part of a week that they were going to take him that week because of what she said.

Right now I just make sure there are firm boundaries, rewards for good behavior and consequences for bad behavior and that he knows that no matter what I love him and I am not sending him back.

I do notice that his behavior dramatically worsens every time he sees mom and that is something that the Social Worker has noted. He has told me several times as well as other people including his counselor that he wants to stay here and doesn't want to go home.

I greatly appreciate the reply, I am new to the system when it comes to these boys and new to parenthood in general. I am definitely having to learn as we go but I do know that as well as providing them with a stable home I can give them all the love they need and that we will make it through this no matter what it takes and it is nice to know that there are other people in similar circumstances that I can converse with when I myself am at a loss.
 

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You've been hit with a lot and not given much guidance by the system. One point of clarification--are they in CPS custody and placed with you or do you have legal guardianship without CPS? Makes a difference in terms of decision making.

I would urge you to quickly read all you can on child trauma. Parenting traumatized kids using 'traditional' parenting methods is usually not effective. A trauma-informed response will work much, much better. For example, time out for a traumatized kid is interpreted much differently than for a well loved and nurtured child.

Bruce Perry's website is terrific, as well as the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. I will be back to post links to those.

If you seek an evaluation be sure (double sure) it is with someone who is deeply knowledgeable about child trauma, especially developmental trauma (as opposed to single incident PTSD). Trauma can "look" like ADHD, depression and a whole host of other "disorders."
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for the information I will definitely read through that tonight after the kiddos are in bed.

They are in CPS custody. I talked with the supervisor at our office who handled their case for awhile while we were awaiting a new case worker to be assigned to them (mind you that was a month ago and I have still not heard from this supposedly great caseworker) and she agreed with me on getting him into counseling.

The place I am taking him is somewhere I am familiar with as I went there myself when I was a child. We have a 3 hour evaluation Monday and I am going to make sure I go armed with questions especially in regards to their experience with child and developmental trauma.

As for the youngest we have a teacher coming in once a week starting next week (we had our initial meeting and paperwork yesterday) to help me and him learn how he can use words rather than aggression when he is upset or angry at us.

I have a babysitter already for Memorial Day weekend that the boys know and have grown up around and am going to take the oldest to a family weekend camp for some one on one time. I think it would be good for him to have a couple of fun days that is just us.

On a side note I am very very upset with the bus company that gets him to and from school and very very proud of the oldest after what happened yesterday.

His bus usually picks him up and drops him off in the parking lot. The bus driver not only left him out there alone but dropped him off on the bottom of the driveway on a very very busy city street. He knew exactly where to go and walked up the driveway to the door that I always pick him up at and waited for me. Luckily as always I was down there early waiting and saw him pretty quickly after he got there but I was definitely less than happy and placed an immediate call to the bus company once we were inside. Also, Am I crazy and the only one to get a 7 year old a cell phone? I am going to speak with his teachers and see if we can work together so he doesn't get in trouble at school with it during the day (going to see if the teacher will put it away until the end of the day) but so he has it on the way home in case of emergency.
 

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His bus usually picks him up and drops him off in the parking lot. The bus driver not only left him out there alone but dropped him off on the bottom of the driveway on a very very busy city street. He knew exactly where to go and walked up the driveway to the door that I always pick him up at and waited for me. Luckily as always I was down there early waiting and saw him pretty quickly after he got there but I was definitely less than happy and placed an immediate call to the bus company once we were inside. Also, Am I crazy and the only one to get a 7 year old a cell phone? I am going to speak with his teachers and see if we can work together so he doesn't get in trouble at school with it during the day (going to see if the teacher will put it away until the end of the day) but so he has it on the way home in case of emergency.
I think that anything you can do right now to increase his sense of safety and that he could get help if he needed it, is a good thing. You don't have to 'give him a phone' in the usual, unrestricted sense. He needs it for a particular reason when he is out of the home because he is probably afraid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think that anything you can do right now to increase his sense of safety and that he could get help if he needed it, is a good thing. You don't have to 'give him a phone' in the usual, unrestricted sense. He needs it for a particular reason when he is out of the home because he is probably afraid.
I completely agree. I don't plan to give it to him unrestricted. I am going to get him a phone like mine that has a Kids Mode I am familiar with and show him how to use the contacts in his Kids Mode which will include of course Me, Babysitter (Honorary Aunt), His other 2 Aunties as well as Grandma and Grandpa (My Grandparents who raised me).
 

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I would get him something like a Trac phone- only call and maybe text, no data or web. Program all the important numbers in that are easy for him to recognize, and show him how to find them.

In this world, it's not crazy. Especially with what he's been through. And thank goodness he handled the bus mix up so well! A lot of kids who've been through that crap would've broken down.

I agree that reading up on abused kids will help. It's not uncommon for kids to start out as really well behaved because they're so scared, they don't feel safe sharing their feelings. The as they start to trust their new caregivers and feel secure, the behavior problems start coming out. It can be really confusing and scary if you don't know what's going on- many people who hve my faced abuse assume that as a kid feels more secure, they'll start behaving BETTER, not worse.

I'm sorry that cps is so difficult. It sounds like you've got a good plan to deal with things.
 
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