Out of control teenager

Bee*
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Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:31 pm

Out of control teenager

Post by Bee* » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:35 am

I don't know what to do with the oldest, who is 13...and my social worker and I are talking about some very difficult decisions. Its such a shame things have started going wrong just as its getting to the point where we are likely to come off PLO, and the social worker is happy with the way our situation has improved. We were originally having a conference 3 months after the last one, but now its been delayed again to give us more time. I doubt we will come off PLO at the next meeting either.

This whole thing started with his behaviour. When he was just 10 years old he was incredibly badly behaved and I had concerns, we were on a CAF and I was trying to get everyone to listen to me because I thought he had some kind of mental health issue that really needed sorting now. He had wild mood swings and rages that would last hours, he kept making disturbing violent comments and bullied his younger siblings. When he was eleven he threatened to bring a knife to school and murder two kids in his class. I also looked at the search history of his laptop and found that he had been spending hours looking at pornography. I took screenshots of his search history and the diary I had been keeping for the last few months of his behaviours, took them to the school and begged them to have a look at them and help me. We got a visit from a social worker and then they did a conference, and the kids have been on a Child Protection Plan ever since.

He was like this before though-hes always been the one that our mum had trouble dealing with from him being a toddler, he always had a preoccupation with violence, was a bully to his siblings, didn't respond to any form of discipline etc. His behaviour started getting worse when he was 9 (Mum died when he was 10 and I have been raising the kids ever since), and I think he would have ended up behaving like this whether she was alive or not, although his behaviour did get worse after she died, which is understandable, but I think there is more to it than that.

He has had an assessment from CAMHS, they originally thought he had autism due to the strong family history of it, as well as things they noticed while speaking to them, such as a flat affect and black and white thinking, as well as social communication difficulties-he is obsessive over certain topics, talks mainly about himself and has no interest in letting other people lead the conversation, he talks more at people than with them with no gaps for them to speak. He is not autistic. He has worked with Lucy Faithful, completed that, and he has been working with someone from the youth offending team. His behaviour majorly improved, and he was actually the kid we talked about the least in core group meetings for the past few months, since some of the other kids had issues that needed support (like one of the kids has a learning disability, and another is a really fussy eater), and then we changed social workers and the replacement really had issues with me and caused a lot of trouble for us (but we changed again and things were okay). CAMHS discharged him for some reason-they only saw him a few times, but they thought his issues were caused by me...the person from CAMHS has a problem with me, she doesn't seem to approve of me looking after the kids because I have autism and anxiety, hopefully she will start understanding soon because in the last core group she said this, the social worker wasn't happy with that and told her she would send her the psychological assessment on me that proves I am capable and the kids are attached to me.

Now all of a sudden, his behaviours are back, and worse now than they were when he was 11, especially now he is a few inches taller than me.

He throws long rages over little things like me not buying him something he really wants. This can include him following me around the house alternating between screaming insults at me (including calling me the C word), and berating me in a calm, detached (really creepy) voice, turning lights on and off, threatening to break things, telling me to have him put in foster care, calling my name over and over, banging on doors when I lock myself in a room to get away, and lying that he has been injured to get my attention. He has done this for three hours at a time. My diary from when he was 10-11 had similar stories in, but never as frequent, maybe 3 times a month, but over the past three weeks there has been 12 incidents.

He is constantly disrespectful. He calls me and his younger siblings names, he tells me to shut up every time I ask him to do something, he has started swearing in the house, and he refuses to do as he is told, and I cannot make him do anything because he is bigger than me.

He has been physically aggressive to me, even in front of the children. He has pushed me, thrown a book and a bottle of ketchup at me, punched the air right in front of my face, and swung a plastic milk bottle at me. He has been destructive towards property, throwing a punch at the TV, throwing a glass bottle down the stairs and smashing it, throwing a bowl of beans because he spilled a little bit, breaking a photo of himself as a toddler and spilling a bag of beads, starting out with it being an accident but he thought it looked cool so he tipped the whole bag out onto the floor and refused to clean it up.

He threatened to drink bleach to teach me a lesson, even saying in a cold voice "this is what happens when you don't let me do what I want", when I said he could not have a game he wanted because he needs to earn the money or wait until his birthday. He claims to have suicidal thoughts, he says he wont go through with it because he doesn't know whether there is an afterlife or not, he just likes to think of this sort of thing (as well as fantasize about violent acts towards other people who annoy him) as a release for his angry feelings, he says its his "happy place". I have left a message with my social worker about this, this happened last night, she hasn't responded but maybe she is off sick today or something.

He is manipulative, his school have always said that he is good at lying too, like his excuses over why he is late. He manipulated his 7 year old sister into letting him cut her hair because he doesn't like the way she looks without a fringe (shes trying to grow it out). He says he is a "psychopath" and feels "like Jekyll and Hyde".

No discipline I have used works with him. I cant send him to his room or make him do extra chores/clean up the messes he has made, he refuses and he knows I cannot get him to do anything because he is stronger than me. When he is grounded, or I take a privilege away from him (like no TV, PS4 etc.), he alternates between pretending he doesn't care and trying to get the time he is grounded increased, and spending hours following me around complaining about it, but then when he is ungrounded, he goes back to doing the same thing I told him not to. When he is calm, if I try and speak about his behaviour and try and work out why, he starts giving silly answers and doesn't tell me much.

He does not seem to understand morality and why he shouldn't do these things. His logic doesn't work like ours. Three times I have thought he was missing (in two of those I called the police). He didn't expect that the school would call me and ask where he was when he decided to not go to school one day, and thought I was overreacting when I called the police when he decided to stay out playing until 8pm. When he told me he would be right back, when we were about to leave parents evening, he was just getting his school bag because he left it in class, and he decided to just go home, he presumed that I would realise he had gone home and go home, instead of wait around at school for an hour having the staff search for him. He thought it was illogical that the school ant I would be concerned if he wasn't where he was supposed to be, and no adults knew where he was, and didn't seem to understand that people would be worried.

I have been very open and honest with the social worker about this, and that I am concerned that I will not be able to manage his behaviours as he gets older and bigger. She says that I am doing the right thing when it comes to boundaries and discipline, it is not my fault that he is acting like this. She says I need to make alternate plans in case I continue to be unable to manage his behaviour, especially as he is acting like this in front of the kids, and we are having a family meeting on the 22nd, to see if I can get support from other family members, including alternative people who could step in and foster him if he cannot remain in the home (although I am worried that nobody in my family will be able to). She says that if the worst happens, she will make sure he is placed local to us, and that we have plenty of contact, including unsupervised, it is not and will never be because I am a bad parent. She has also spoken to him, and so has the person he sees from the youth offending team, about how the way he is treating me is wrong, being physically aggressive to me is domestic abuse and if he was an adult this would be a crime and she would also have asked him to leave the house, and that he shouldn't keep telling me to put him in foster care, as it is not as good as being with me and something nobody wants to happen.

Im not sure what I want to do with him (other that CAMHS majorly let us down and I want another referral, I think there are other mental health issues here that they haven't even considered). In the moments he is being good, I cant imagine sending him away, especially because he lost his mum, and he never knew his dad and I am all he has, but when he is being bad, I wish I could, and then feel bad about it. Its such a big decision to make, and I also worry that people will judge me for giving up on him.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:34 pm

Dear Beth,

You describe a very difficult and potentially dangerous situation for your 12 year old brother. You are rightly being open and honest with the social worker about what has happened over the last few weeks.

Your brother’s mood seems to be very low. He has talked about self-harming and having suicidal thoughts. He says that he has not made any plans to kill himself but drinking bleach may be fatal.
His reckless and impulsive behaviour in the context of him saying he has suicidal thoughts is also very worrying.

As you have identified, he needs an urgent assessment by CAMHs. Can you talk to your GP about this today or make an urgent appointment for your brother to see his GP?
Is your social worker making an urgent referral to CAHMs for an assessment?

To get further advice, you could contact Young Minds


Has your brother got anyone to talk to about his feelings? Is there a counsellor at school or could he contact child line.



In relation to what the social worker is saying to you about your boundary setting and parenting skills generally, make a note to yourself that she is supporting your approach, that you are doing the right thing. If you did feel that you would benefit from specialist parenting classes, you could also ways ask the social worker about those that are provided in your area.

There is a section on Young Minds here about looking after yourself as a parent that you might find helpful.

Best wishes,

Suzie

Bee*
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Bee* » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:12 pm

My social worker hasn't replied to the email yet, shes probably off sick, the PLO meeting was supposed to be today, but my solicitor called me this morning to say it was cancelled. Its probably nothing and she will be back soon-Ive been ill, half the kids have been ill, and several of the professionals have been ill over the past few weeks, people need to start recovering soon or there will be nobody at the core group meeting next week.

Unfortunately it is too late in the day to contact the GP, but I will do as soon as possible. He really needs a referral for CAMHS, they shouldn't have dropped us from the service last time without considering more than just autism (although they said he scored high but not high enough for a diagnosis-but I think although he shows some traits, there are some things he does that don't fit and something else might be going on). I didn't even agree with them dropping us, and the things mentioned in the letter to say why were from assessments they did a year before, nothing new. I have no idea why she even came to the core groups after the first few months as she rarely saw him, shes only recently useful again now she is seeing the 7 year old.

I don't know if the school has a counsellor available, although he is close with the woman he sees from the youth offending team, she is currently working with him on Mondays, but she had to cancel last Monday because she was sick. He says he does not want to speak to anyone about his behaviour lately and about his suicidal thoughts (but I think he should). I sent her an email to tell her today, shes not replied-hope she is back in soon.

Thank you for the link to Young Minds. Hopefully I can find something helpful on there.

We have spoken about this, when I first told her about his behaviour. She says she is going to see what is available in our area in terms of parenting classes, I already did one when I first ended up with the kids, but it was more aimed at toddlers and primary school aged kids, we are looking at one that would be more useful for our situation with the oldest.

Bee*
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Bee* » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:55 pm

My social worker has made a referral to CAMHS.

It is incredibly unlikely that I will be able to continue parenting him as he grows up, Im a great parent and do well looking after the other three children, but the 13 year old is so unlike any other kid that it is beyond what I can do, especially with 3 other kids to look after, as I cant be paying them all the attention they need when he is following me round causing trouble. She is going to do some work with us, and also refer him somewhere for respite for me for a few days a month, and he will be seeing CAMHS, but its hard, and will only get worse as he grows bigger. We are having a family meeting to decide what help can be given, if anyone can foster him if I cant handle him, as if he ends up in foster care its likely he will end up in a children's home (probably a therapeutic one, for his mental health issues). She is also concerned that he is abusing me and what it is doing to my mental health. My social worker and I have spoken with my parents (dad and step mum) about what is going on, as I didn't tell them too much of it. Theyre concerned with his behaviour too.

Its not an easy decision, but maybe having him live with relatives is best for the other three children, its not helping their confidence to be bullied by him all the time, he dominates conversations, games and everything we do, and they are all squashed into one bedroom while he has his own room as I am too concerned about him being alone with them, and what really is best for the oldest is for him to have someone who can adequately parent him and help him with these issues. Part of looking after a child, especially one on a Child Protection Plan/in PLO is making these tough decisions, cause its more about the kids than you. Id love it if he could live with me, but if its not the best for our family and whatever theyre putting in place now doesn't work out, hard decisions need to be made.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:54 pm

Dear Beth,

Thank you for posting back. I am glad that the referral has gone in to CAMHS. If things do deteriorate, you can always refer again via your GP, or if very urgent via your paediatric accident or emergency for an urgent assessment.

I can see that you and the social worker are planning for different ways forward in respect of your 13 year old.
Is she carrying out a fresh assessment of him? You could see what support might be available to him in your local authority area for his age group and with his needs. This should be set out on their website. I am glad that respite is also being considered as a way to support you.


Here is our advice sheet that sets out what generally happens at family group meetings/conferences. It is a good way to find a friend and family foster carer or respite within the family.
Best wishes,

Suzie

zena_p
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by zena_p » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:41 pm

Hi - I am new to this and not an expert but was reading your story. I have a son with similar behaviour who is only 8 and has been diagnosed with ASD. However, like the teenager you mention, doesn't fit Autism completely. I believe my son has PDA (pathalogical demand avoidance) which is a form of Autism though the kids react quite differently. I felt relieved when I read about this as finally there was something that more accurately described my son's behaviour. A couple of websites are pdasociety.org and understandingpda.com. Maybe it will help you though obviously its just a suggestion and may not be relevant.

Bee*
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Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:31 pm

Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Bee* » Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:16 pm

That does make sense to me. The first link doesn't work, but the second does, and it makes sense. My friend's daughter has PDA, although I never connected the two as she is only 7, and apparently autism presents differently in girls?

I have wondered whether he has had all sorts of things, in the time when we have not had CAMHS.

He shows some autistic signs-he gets obsessive over certain topics, such as height (he even got out a tape measure and insisted that he measure how tall the social worker is...she let him), bodybuilding, writing equations and scientific sounding stuff (mostly nonsense with picked up scientific facts mixed in), aliens/unexplained stuff and iPhones. He struggles with conversation skills, his conversations are mostly one sided and about a topic he is interested in, and they carry on for a long time with no regard to the other person getting bored, and he tends to repeat himself a lot, having the exact same conversation about his interest that he did yesterday. He has an unusual way of speech, he has a flat affect and often uses very formal language (especially around adults), but it is clear that he does not understand some of the words he uses. He is also a very black and white thinker. He struggles to play with his siblings, because he is very bossy and tells them exactly what to do, they never get to choose what to play or how to play, he makes up the rules and leads the game, and he has to win.

I thought ODD or Conduct Disorder, because of the way he refuses to do what I tell him to do, and has a short temper and massive rages that can last hours, where he is destructive and violent. He also has very antisocial behaviour-bullying, calling his siblings names, threatening to kill kids in his class. He is destructive-he has always played so rough with his toys that he breaks them, and sometimes breaks things or hits things during his rages. He is a really good liar, he is always making excuses over why he is late for school, or why he did something, and nobody is ever sure whether they are real or fake. He also doesn't seem to show much in the way of empathy, when he was 9 he tried to strangle another kid and showed no remorse.

Someone has also suggested it is due to attachment, on hearing that I am raising him but am not his parent, but he had a consistent relationship with Mum until he was 10, and he acted out before then. I don't think it can be caused by his stepdad losing interest in him when he was 2 and his baby brother was born, although I think that is the cause of a lot of his bad feelings towards his brother.

I have also looked up whether it is possible for a kid to be a psychopath, when he threatened to murder some kids in his class. But no, I don't think he is, he gets awkward in social situations and isn't really charming, although he is manipulative at times.

PDA is a possibility I think, as when he was tested for autism he did score highly but not enough for a diagnosis, and I have been keeping records of his behaviours, and the main cause of his angry outbursts is being told what to do or being told no (the other cause is his siblings existing in the same room as him).


He has a few other weird behaviours that don't quite fit in with anything else.

1. He can stop in the middle of being angry and go eerily calm, like screaming, but then stopping and saying "This is what happens when you don't let me do what I want" and then going back to screaming.

2. His memories are weird, he doesn't seem to know real from fake. When you tell him something, he only seems to understand half and will make up the rest. I generally ask people, when he says that someone said something, as usually they will have said something different. "_______ said I can do this" could mean that ________ said "don't do this" or "we might do this", or "I read a story where someone did this". This makes things very difficult, sometimes he will make it sound like he is being abused, like claiming that I had insulted him, but actually I told him not to do something and he felt insulted. Luckily the professionals in our lives know to take things with a grain of salt. He has claims of paranormal experiences like seeing a UFO while out trick or treating, and claims to have memories that don't make sense, like talking about our uncle's little fluffy white dog, but the only dog they had, from him being a toddler until he was 8 and they moved away, was large and brown.

3. He is very preoccupied with violence. He has always drawn pictures of weapons and fighting. He makes violent, graphic threats to people, like telling classmates that he is going to bring in a knife, stab them to death and drink their blood. He likes to talk about killing animals, in hypothetical scenarios of what he would do if the animal attacked him, he gets graphic with this. He has always been drawn to violent media-not so much now, but our mum used to let him play violent video games when he was 5. He also dissected a mouse at age 12. It was already dead when he found it (I have a pet snake, it eats frozen mice I get from the local reptile shop, I took it out to thaw and he found it first), but I found it a bit disturbing.

4. He is really detached from everything. He doesn't seem to care about his possessions, he will ask for something and be excited about it, but then a few weeks later he is bored of it and has either broken it or given it away. He asked me to sell his Xbox and all of his games when he got a PS4 for Christmas, even though he only had two games to play on, and some of his favourite Xbox games were not on PS4 so he would never be able to play them again. He doesn't look after his stuff, and doesn't care when he breaks them. He is detached from his friends too, he is actually moving in with my sister soon, she lives on the other side of the country so he would have to move schools. I asked him if he would miss his friends, he says no, he could make new friends. He also does not want to meet up with his friends when he visits my house, and doesn't care if he sees them again.



I think it is possible that maybe some of it was caused by the way he was raised. He was allowed access to inappropriate media containing violence from being a young child, including violent video games and horror movies rated 18. He was enjoying this sort of thing from being maybe five. Discipline was inconsistent, my sister and I were also allowed to discipline him, but we all had different standards, Mum let him get away with a lot, he just had to sit on the step for spending £50 buying something online because Mum forgot to remove her card details-he still got to keep what he bought, which was something for an online game. He was a bit spoiled, he had over 100 Xbox games and got new ones whenever he asked as long as there was money in the bank. He didn't get much sleep, he went to bed late, at an inconsistent time, somewhere between 10-11pm or a little bit later depending on what he was doing-he was allowed an extra 10 minutes after Mum went to bed, when he was about 8-10ish, but this could turn into half an hour because he just wanted to finish off what he was doing, or I forgot to tell him his 10 minutes were up. He got maybe 8 hours of sleep a night on a school night, from being a toddler......somehow I don't think Social Services would have been impressed if they got involved before I took over.


Also the family meeting went ahead, although it was delayed. It was 3 weeks ago. He is going to go and live with my sister. We are still in PLO and on a Child Protection Plan, and will be until the end of July, when he goes to live with my sister, and then they will consider stopping PLO, as all of the other things they mentioned are now resolved and things are going well, its just that he poses risk to the kids by being violent to me in front of them, and by bullying them. Then hopefully after the next conference in November we will be stepped down onto Child In Need.

Bee*
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Bee* » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:13 pm

He has now moved in with my sister. The next PLO meeting is in 4 weeks. Hopefully we will drop down after this last one, as at the last one, my social worker and her manager were happy with the progress we have made, the only reason we are still in PLO is because I am unable to parent him with his behaviour issues and the other children are at risk as he is aggressive to them. In everything else we are doing well :) So many tasks have been completed from our plan.

zena_p
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by zena_p » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:59 pm

Sorry for late response, but I got spammed when joined the forum, and couldn't find your post again.
I know you mentioned he is not living with you anymore but you may still find it useful to know/understand his behaviour. The link should have been www.pdasociety.org.uk - if you go to the forum, you will find many similar stories/behaviours like the teenager you mention (I assume your brother?).
I told you my son has pda but I didn't mention that his dad had it too. That means I have experience of similar behaviours from early age through to adulthood! I have listed a few things below to see if they match

1) Trouble getting to sleep and consequently being angry in the morning
2) Not being able to end activities/change location (needs countdown)
3) Obsession with violent games, dangerous creatures, gruesomeness, threatening suicide/murder (they are actually extremely fearful people and think this will scare others as it would scare them)
4) Not being able to handle following instructions or no (even if to their own benefit) yet they are controlling in the extreme
5) Bullying to get what they want and following you round at close range making impossible demands (this is often an attempt at communicating something completely different ie needing the toilet or toy)
6) Obsession with getting things rather than actually wanting to use them (can last for months even over minor things if they don't get it)
7) Is bothered by many similar things to other types of Autism, but usual methods for dealing with those situations have opposite effect on them. eg if school presented my son with visual timetables - he would destroy them and the room
8) They pretend to understand things/phrases but clearly do not, and they think everyone else is pretending too. This also applies to lying (sometimes as little as one line or person matches the truth)
8) Anything is a demand! needing to sleep/get up, eat, toilet, get dressed, receive a compliment
9) Might try being charming to get what they want, but violent if that doesn't work.
10) Understanding right and wrong in the 3rd person only (ie when applied to someone else)
11) Obsessiveness with own topics and broadcasting rather than conversing

You mentioned your mum let him get away with lots of things. This may or may not make you feel better, but I have tried both approaches with my son (as have the schools he as attended). Actually, even though it may not seem fair and is hard to explain to siblings, trying to be strict or consistent with them actually makes them even more extreme and aggressive. It makes them have panic attacks that seem to spark vengeance and what I call being deliberately awkward about absolutely everything. Obviously that doesn't mean to say they should get away with everything - though it often appears that way to the outside world.
Anyway, hopefully the pda site will help you feel better and I commend you for having tried as hard as you have in bringing up your family. You are a very strong-minded person indeed.

Har1Her1
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Re: Out of control teenager

Post by Har1Her1 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:57 pm

Hello Zena and Beth,

What you write about rings so true for my youngest. He is 15 and we are currently on our second Child Protection Plan . CSC are criticising me for 'bad' parenting. However, he does not respond to conventional strategies. His father and brother have ASD and I am sure he has PDA.

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