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I am currently in a relationship with a man who has custody of his two children. The youngest is 5 and he is very very troubled. His parents divorced in 2010 and mom lost custody because she left the boys with their dad in 2009 to begin an affair with a married man. She got pregnant and made plans to move out of the state, so the judge deemed it abandonment. My SO has had the boys for two years and the mother is again trying to regain custody; we have court Feb 6th. Right now the case is in Juvenile court and the boys are seeing a therapist every two weeks to help them cope with this dreadful custody battle. However, the youngest child is very aggressive and often hurts the five other children that there are between me and my SO. He also hurts children at church and the park by hitting or by taking their toys. He swears, doesn't listen to anybody except his father and even then that's not constant. If you scold him he says things like "You want to hit me in the head", "You hate me", "You want me to die" ext... He has absolutly no self control, goes around screaming out loud for no reason, can't be still EVER, and is currently in so much trouble in school for stealing and maturity issues that they want him to repeat Kindergarten next year. He is also on the verge of getting kicked off the school bus because he refuses to sit in the seat and swears. My SO is so upset and confused, as am I. All of our children were affected by divorce and the addition of a half sibiling as well as the introduction of new SO's on both mom and dad's side. The other children have done really well adjusting, but not this 5 yr old. My SO does have depression and slight anger issues and he does take medication, so part of me wonders if this behavior goes beyond the "norm" and is mental, which is fine...but we are unsure what to do. The latest news of his behavior on the bus is very discouraging.
It talks about therapy through play. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it sounds like he may have been hit/spanked a lot. It might be tempting to deal with his behavior that way going forward, but it will probably only make the problem worse. He probably feels out of control with his life in general. I feel for the poor guy, especially to have been abandoned by his mother! What kind of mother could do that?
I think in the beginning his dad did spank him for the negative behavior, but I know for a fact that now my SO does not spank. He tries "time out" and redirection as well as discussing negative behavior. Honestly, spaking him results in horrible responses, so it's not done. His therapist suggests it not be done either. It's so discouraging because he is at times a very loving and religous child, but then he changes and is hard to be around. I have questioned if he is bi polar, which I feel terrible for, but his behavior is just so "off the wall". We can't leave him alone with any children or pets, he needs somebody with him 24/7 or he acts out. It's sad, scary, tiring. I wish we had a solution to this...
As for his mother, she says it wasn't abandonment, that she had no choice but to leave them until she stabalized herself. But the courts didn't see it that way.
I would talk to his therapist about getting him a referral to a psychiatrist. I know he's young but it sounds like he might have a behavior disorder or a mental health disorder that would require medication to stabilize him. Sometimes medication can make a world of difference. It sounds like it wouldn't hurt to at least discuss it with the therapist and see if she/he agrees.
My SO feels like medication is needed for his son, but therapists and school officials keep telling him that he shouldn't medicate until he is older than five yrs old because at this point it could simply be immaturity. However, I disagree and although I am not a doctor, his behavior is extreme at times, more so than I have ever seen before. I have worked in the childcare setting for years and have never enountered a child with behavior issues such as this. Now, please do not assume that I do not care for this child or that I "can't handle my STEP CHILDREN" because that is NOT THE CASE! I love my bonus kids (even though my SO and I are not married) and have backed up their father every step of the way in this court battle for custody. I treat them as my children, no different than my four too. I am heartbroken that he is going through this, want a healthy solution, and will stand by him and my SO regardless of the outcome. But, I worry alot....I think we should definetly try and re-introduce the topic of medication to the therapist though.