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Acting out 10 year old


Hi,  It’s been some time since i’ve been on this site but I really need some advice.  Our 10 year old boy, adopted at birth, has been acting out.  He has started calling us fu&%ing idiots, or bit*%es when he is upset or frustrated.  A lot of times is when he is trying to get his homework done but others is when he needs to do something or he cannot do what he wants to do (ie go to a friends house to play).  He is not acting out at school and all of his friends’ parents say how great he is.

He has always known he was adopted.  We don’t see his birthmom but we talk about her and the situation quite often.  It’s never been that big of a deal, just is what it is.  However, this past summer, he asked if he had any other siblings.  I told him that his birthmom has a 5 year old boy.  His immediate response was “so, she kept him but didn’t keep me”.  It totally broke my heart but he understands there was no way for her to keep him.  But the behavior started almost immediately following this.

He has told me he wants me to die so he can go live with her.  Then he feels terrible about it.  I know he is just hurting and lashing out is how he is handling it.  We do have him seeing a counselor which seems to be helping a bit.

The counselor and the books I have been reading just say to not engage with him when he says terrible things.  In the course of counseling, we understood that he also has a addiction to his computer.  We took it away about 2 months ago.  His counselor said it was his way of not having to “feel or think about anything”.  Totally made sense to us.

My question is this…what do I do when he calls me a fu*%ing Bi#ch?  I have been trying the “that really isn’t OK” (inside I have the urge to slap his face).  Is not engaging OK with this kind of behavior.  What do I do when I tell him he can’t go play with his friends and just walks out the door?

He knows this behavior is wrong, I can see it in him.  I can hear it in his voice when he apologizes.  He truly is a good boy but I don’t know how to get us all through this.

Thanks so much for any advice.

Replies

It sounds to me like you are handling it really well on all angles.  I don’t have advice per se but I do have an (adopted) 13 yo.  When she was around 10 and 11, she was a bear!!  She recently acknowledged she was really difficult during that time.  I think tween years are so tough and you have to consider hormonal changes etc.  It’s a time too when there is so much pressure to fit in and being adopted can make that more challenging.  I used to let her rile me up but I too have learned staying calm always makes more sense.  I have to say she really is 1000 x better now so maturity will help.  Do you have a therapist yourself?  Hang in there, mom!

Posted by mamallama on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:16am

a lot of moms I worked with would say thank you as BITCH means Babe in total control of herself.

Age 8-10 is when many children adopted as an infant have issues. I wondered when you said he understand she couldn’t keep him. Are you sure? If I were a kid I would think she kept my brother.

I wrote several workbooks (go to Amazon and put in Regina Kupecky) that might help him share feelings.

You could do a swearing box and every time he swears he puts a quarter or something in the box. If he doesn’t have money you could say everytime you swear you get a point and five (or whatever) points means no TV (or whatever) for a day. I am sure he is doing computers at school, with friends, or at the library. This could be an issue.

If he walks over to a friends you can always go over and tell the mom he doesn’t have permission and get him. Or call the moms where he goes and ask if they would call you when he appears so you know where he is.

I would call every adoption agency in the area see who they refer to and find an adoption sensitive therapist.

Posted by Regina on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:45pm

Not sure if this would be helpful but our son is ten and he cherishes his relationships with his birth siblings. He does not have any contact with birth mom (safety issue) and is not very interested in seeing birth dad, but he loves to visit with siblings. Is an introduction possible in your situation? Maybe, if he saw himself as a role model for his younger brother it could have an impact on behavior?

Our daughter’s is a closed adoption but she also longs to meet birth siblings. Our kids love each other to bits but the birth sibling bond is also something incredibly special. In my opinion, it is the most important bond to birth family.

I have to say it does sound like you are handling this difficult situation very well. Best of luck.

Posted by Lucy2012 on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:36pm

We had a foster son who used to try to curse and call me names when he was mad. One day instead of giving him the reacting he hoped for, I simply looked at him, laughed, and said “That was weak” and walked out of his room.

A lot of things were thrown at the door after I closed it and there was a lot more yelling, he definitely escalated a lot faster and to a more extreme level without any sort of back and forth between us and it was a pretty major meltdown but he came down from it a lot faster too, and I did that a few times and the insults almost stopped completely.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Oct 22, 2018 at 4:34pm

We had a foster son who used to try to curse and call me names when he was mad. One day instead of giving him the reacting he hoped for, I simply looked at him, laughed, and said “That was weak” and walked out of his room.

A lot of things were thrown at the door after I closed it and there was a lot more yelling, he definitely escalated a lot faster and to a more extreme level without any sort of back and forth between us and it was a pretty major meltdown but he came down from it a lot faster too, and I did that a few times and the insults almost stopped completely.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Oct 22, 2018 at 4:34pm

We have had similar Behavior from our now 6 year old, also adopted at birth, both at home and at school. Not quite cursing yet because he probably just doesn’t know the words! He has a counselor and also we had a nuero psych evaluation done (for school reasons) and they came back with the idea that he has emotional problems due to separation from BM. We expected this to come up 8-10 but not when he was 5! Amazing what they can be thinking/feeling and we can have no idea.

I love all the advice so far, but also wondering how to broach the subject of a younger bio sibling? We have mentioned it, and have an open relationship with the BM and older siblings, but like RRB’s case expect it to be hard for him to accept.

Posted by Louise15 on Nov 06, 2018 at 3:58pm

I think in some ways you have to trust your instincts. And you get to be a person too. If(maybe when) my daughter says this kind of stuff to me, I will try to talk things through with her and listen to her pain. But…I’m a person too and I believe I would say “I know you’re upset right now, but what you just said to me was not okay. That really hurts my feelings.” We tiptoe around our adopted children because we know they have so much emotional trauma. But, it’s also our job to help them be compassionate adults. They should be called out when they hurt people in such a cruel way.

Posted by wannabe on Nov 16, 2018 at 5:41pm

I just wanted to thank you for starting this thread since I came here looking for advice for almost identical behavior from my 7-year-old. I have been thinking I’m screwing up as a parent but to see several of you report similar behaviors and think it may be adoption-related gives me new hope about finding ways to help him. I know he’s not a bad kid and I feel like his own behavior upsets him. It helps so much to see objective evidence that other adopted kids struggle with similar things.

Posted by Diva341 on Dec 22, 2018 at 11:41am

FFY youth here. I have to say highly doubt that he actually understands that she could keep the brother and not him—that’s hard for an adult to wrap their head around, much less a 10 year old.
And while you say “the situation” has never been a big deal, it probably is to him. And he is old enough to be outraged that he has had a brother that he didn’t know about for 5 years. And of course the acting out started after getting that knowledge.
I see too different issues here. Of course you have the right to enforce rules—no, he can’t just walk out the door when you’ve told him he can’t go out,or call you a F*&^ing idiot if that kind of language is not allowed in your house. There should be consequences for breaking those rules.
But they should be directly related to breaking the rules, not because of his feelings. I understand taking away the computer if it was clear that, say, going out to a friend’s house when you were told you can’t will result in not being able to use the computer.
I don’t understand taking away the computer because someone disapproves of what they think are his emotions, or inability to face emotions. To me as a child this would have seemed mean and punitive.
If he doesn’t act out at school or with others that means he feels safe enough to act out around you. Again, that doesn’t mean you have to let him disobey, but it does mean, maybe that he is trying to tell you something.
If he can’t say to your face he wishes you will die so he can live with her, he will still think it. He probably doesn’t wish you will die. He probably does wish he could live with her and his brother. That’s not pathological, that’s natural.
So to me it would be important to separate out the two things—one, family rules that need to be followed and clear and fair consequences if they are not, and two, that while his being adopted may never have been a big deal for you, it is for him, as is knowing he has a brother he has never met. For a 10 year old, it’s a very big deal indeed.

Posted by NoraT on Dec 24, 2018 at 12:45am

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