How to deal with a child turning against you?

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

How to deal with a child turning against you?

Postby David Roth » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:29 pm

I've been asked to post the following by a contributor to this forum:

As long-term contributors to the forum I've asked David to post this as at the moment its important our family identity is kept secret. .

The child in our care, now approaching 16, has severe behaviour problems with ODD, ADHD etc and is receiving treatment and medication from CAHMS. The child attends a special therapeutic school part-time having been excluded from several mainstream schools. Following incidents of physical abuse against us, the child was arrested last year and spent a night at the police station after abusing the police who were called after we sought advice from our GP. This ended in a Final Warning being given to the child.

Children's services became involved, and the clear message from all parties was that child was 'in control. and we had to take back control. Not easy when one of us is temporarily disabled and the other of smaller stature than the child, but we did our best.

Over the months, the behaviour has become more and more abusive and violent towards us, and indeed the home where there is now a backlog of repairs. Stones have been thrown at us, panels of car's kicked in, neighbours ornamental tree's destroyed .... the list goes on ..... and the language! Certainly not printable here.

One of the most galling things is that after a few weeks of working with us, we rang CS in the middle of a real crisis where we had both been hit and things were getting out of control as 'immediate support is always available via an out of hours number'. Another long story in itself, but 2 hours after we calmed the situation down, they then offered to come out as there were now two of them and they were not allowed to come out alone in a crisis in case they got hurt! Fine to leave us older ones in a pickle!

CS withdrew and closed the case after 12 weeks as there was no more they could offer! However, by that time, CAHMS were fully involved.

Another piece of good advice from CS when we asked for respite was to tell us to get other family member to do it. We tried it once a couple of months ago. We went to an old friends 60th birthday party a distance away and had to stay over so the child stayed with another daughter, husband and two of our grandchildren. Sunday morning we get a call to say there had been a major scene in W H Smiths, and after physical and verbal abuse, the child had run off. Of course we had to return much earlier than we expected and it was somewhat stressful drive.

Anyway to cut a very long story short, the child went to school last Wednesday and has thrown some form of allegations against us, CS and the police were called and we are to be interviewed separately under caution at the the local police tomorrow with no idea as to what the allegations are. Meantime, the child signed themselves into section 20 accommodation and apart from picking up his medication and some clothes on Wednesday evening we have heard nothing from CS.

We are convinced that we have done nothing wrong, but its quite clear the authorities feel that there is a case to answer. We have been the ones with the bruises and injuries but didn't call the police as we were told that one further arrest would lead to court proceedings and we do not want to give them a criminal record. The child has on more than one occasion made threats to get us arrested, but along with most of the other threats, we really didn't expect it to happen.

We have a first class solicitor lined up for the interviews, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. We've also had phenomenal support from family members, and indeed from the principal of the part-time stage school the child attended for several years before eventually being asked to leave effectively for racial bullying and then making untenable demands. However, despite previously having calls every other day, we have heard zilch from the special school staff who claim to be so keen to work with us.

The one question we keep being asked is will we take the child back? At the moment, I cannot how we could, and frankly, despite the stress, are enjoying not being constantly attacked, sworn at, keys being taken, thieving, being "turnip'd", thrown to the floor, and general unacceptable behaviour. However, with Christmas approaching, we guess its a question we may soon have to answer. Can anyone see a way through as we still love this monster?

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: How to deal with a child turning against you?

Postby David Roth » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:10 pm

This sounds like a desperately sad and difficult situation, that has been building up for quite a long time and finally come to a head.

My advice in the short term would be to deal with one thing at a time. You have the police interviews ahead of you, and until these have taken place you don't know what is being alleged, how seriously it is being taken, and what is likely to happen as a result. After this is clearer, you can start to think about your future with this child.

It is hard to know at the moment how credible the police and social workers think the allegations are. They are obliged to investigate all such allegations, and should not seem to have made a decision about whether they are true or false in advance of any investigation. From the fact the police are involved, though, it would seem that what has been alleged would be a criminal offence if it was found to be true. In this sort of investigation, the role of social workers is to ensure that the child is safe, and the role of the police is to investigate whether a criminal offence has taken place. They might well have asked the school not to contact you again until after the investigations.

Even if the police don't charge you, there will probably be a child protection case conference. That would be where others who could support your version of events, such as the school and your GP, would be given the opportunity to state what they had seen.

After this stage, you can think about your relationship with this young person. Given what has been said, a period of separation might not be a bad thing in the short term. Although the young person is accommodated and not under a care order, the reality is that at nearly 16 social workers will need to consult the young person when they are making decisions about contact and how things will go from here. There will probably be strong feelings on both sides about what is happening now, so any attempts to repair the relationship would need to be handled carefully, and would probably need some support.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

User avatar
ied53
Posts: 2100
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: How to deal with a child turning against you?

Postby ied53 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:30 pm

You are very special it would be so easy to turn against such a troubled child.
Do you feel you can continue to cope with him? Is he becoming more than you can cope with?
How much danger are you in physically from him? How do you take control again when he is so obviously in control? What support will you be given?
We cannot change who we love but do you love him enough to say no we can't cope with him he needs more than we can do. I am not suggesting that you do this only you can make this choice but you may need to for the right reasons. Hugs to you both .
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: How to deal with a child turning against you?

Postby David Roth » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:21 pm

I have received the following update from the original poster in this discussion:

Just for the record, the following has occurred since the original post.

We were interviewed separately under caution for over 3 hours in total. Itself a very stressful situation. The policeman seemed shocked that one of us is 5'5", under 9 stone and "old" (Cheeky!) and the other on crutches and "obviously disabled"! (The 'child' is almost 16, almost 6' tall and extremely fit!)

The allegations were almost completely fictitious, but were supported by photographs taken by the school over the last year and a bit since the child has been attending. Every minor graze and bruise has been meticulously photographed with an accompanying cock and bull story about how they were inflicted, most of which made no sense whatsoever when compared with the supposed injury. For instance there was a single tram-line type mark and graze allegedly received when the child was belted many times on the leg while in underpants by the lady of the house. What 15 year-old is going to stand there and allow that to happen? And why only one mark. We are fairly confident it was caused by him climbing out of the window at night to have a cigarette before trying to set fire to the summer house!
The date for another set of bruises ties in nicely with when the police were called and had to physically restrain said child last November!

We await final confirmation from the police that there is no case to answer, but it has to go to the CPS as we were formerly foster parents and a higher bar is used for people who are professionals (SW's, teachers, police etc). That despite the fact that we have not fostered for over 15 years and never received one iota of training!

The short and long of it is that the police have stressed to CS that they have very serious concerns about the child returning home 'for our safety', given the previously recorded history and incidents, together with independently witnessed black eyes received by the lady of the house from said 'child'. There is now lots of hand-wringing about us not having had the support we needed, and of course our rejected request for respite is on record. New social worker is 'old school' and so far has been understanding and supportive.

CAHMS have also changed and increased the medication, and the child remains with agency foster parents costing the LA a fortune compared with the cost of the respite we asked for earlier in the year before they 'closed the case'. Fairly confident they will find a way of it all still being our fault though. ;-)

It seems as if my original question is mute. The child has made their bed and has to now lay on it. Very sad, and entirely the wrong thing for the child, but we've gone as far we can. Despite the stress of dealing with the allegations, and the heart wrenching pain of losing the child to the system, the resultant peace and tranquillity, the lack of insults, aggressive behaviour and assaults, together wish the sheer predictability of knowing what the next moment will bring have been bliss. Truly a case of not realising how bad things things were until it stops.

It's been indicated to us that any direct contact is 'some weeks away' and may need to be supervised, again for our protection so we are looking at a very different Christmas with the rest of the family from than we expected a couple of weeks ago.

Best wishes to you all for the season, and thanks to David and Irene for the kind words.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser


Return to “Getting support”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest