I could use some advice: We adopted a sibling group of four children at the same time a few years ago; three girls (6/12/16) and one boy(9). We love them and on the outside, we have a good working relationship. While all of them have various issues, my son has a continuing problem with stealing (gum, change, underwear, etc) this occurs on average at least once a week. He also seems to be taking and wearing womens (MomҒs/Sisters/babysitters) underwear to school and to bed. This seems to have been going on (off and on) at least for a year. When confronted, he says "I wanted them" and he doesnt know why he does it (stealing or the underwear thing..etc.) He also takes Vivance for ADHD, (changes here donҒt seem to effect the otherwe have tried.) I have tried everything I can think of: weekly visits to a psychologist (various types) to timeouts to spankings and nothing seems to stop him from doing these things again. He steals most prevalently from me (Dad.) I have had to put a bell on his door so I can hear if he gets up at night. It is unclear to me whether he is attached to us, or just œthere because his sisters are there.
Is this all somehow a version of ԓnormal for an adoptive child? My wife takes his behavior as a personal affront and tends to get very upset with him and she is clearly at her wits end. Do these things point to some greater serious issue in him? We love him, but are deeply concerned; Does he need to be moved to a therapeutic home or other placement? What path should I be going down? What help should we look to get?
I would suggest reading "when love is not enough" by nancy thomas, parenting the hurt child" by gregory keck, and love and logic. All great books with suggestions for natural consequences and helping parents to see things through the hurt child's eyes.
A few thoughts...
Sounds like you've tried more than one therapist, but if the therapist isn't giving you parenting tips and the behavior isn't changing, you need a new therapist. Keep looking. Find someone who has specific knowledge and training for dealing with kids who come fram trauma backgrounds and probable attachment issues.
Secondly, while I understand your wife's frustration, maybe she needs to do some more reading about adoption issues. Your son's behavior has very little or nothing to do with your wife, and everything, or most everything to do with the start to his life. If she keeps being mad and irritated with him, it will hinder his healing.
Thirdly, since your son has very little impulse control, common among children who had a difficult start to life, help him by making his world smaller. Instead of treating him like a 9 year old, treat him like a younger boy with fewer opportunities to wander and make bad choices. This is not to be mean, but to help him from himself. Put a no roaming policy in place where he is always sitting near you or your wife, rather than being able to move throughout the house at will. I'm not sure about how to handle wearing women's clothing, but stealing should be consequenced. He should have to do a chore for the person he stole from and apologize, all in a very matter of fact, not angry way.
Please read the books suggested in the previous post. All are excellent and will give you a new perspective on helping your son to heal.
Susan Ward
[url=]Older Child Adoption Support - Main Page[/url]
Is it possible he either feels the need to be close to women (your wife/his birthmom) or that he feels his sisters are loved so he'll feel loved if he wears the underwear?
If either of these, then perhaps giving him something of your wife's (not underwear! a sweater? scarf?) to carry around OR allowing him to wear neutral/girl's underwear?
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I have an adopted son with RAD and he steals his sisters and my underwear and defecates in them then hides them anywhere he can. I believe he just puts them on does it and takes them off. The reason is because he takes bathing suits off the clothes line at lunch time and when we finish lunch they are gone. I find them hidden in bushes. He started this when he was about 11 and the last time I caught him was 10 months ago. He is now 16. We have to keep all of our laundry under watch and the girls have keyed locks on their doors.