Myson­was abused and now be­haves badly

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - PARENTING -

?I re­cently sep­a­rated from my abu­sive part­ner. Be­fore I left him, my el­dest son, aged seven, had be­come ver­bally abu­sive to peo­ple. I be­lieve my part­ner con­trib­uted to my son’s be­hav­iour prob­lem, as he was

IT sounds like there is a lot go­ing on for you and your chil­dren. Even though the sep­a­ra­tion from your ex-part­ner may be a dif­fi­cult process, I could imag­ine that it will prove to be a very pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for your fam­ily, as it gives you and the chil­dren an op­por­tu­nity to heal and to live, free from abuse.

You don’t de­scribe what kind of abuse you and your son suf­fered from your ex-part­ner, but in many ways it doesn’t mat­ter. Whether it was emotional, phys­i­cal or sex­ual abuse, it will have had a huge im­pact on you and your son.

The dif­fer­ent kinds of abuse can some­times add ad­di­tional lay­ers of com­plex­ity in terms of their spe­cific im­pact, but any or all of them could be responsible for your son’s lack of con­fi­dence and low self-es­teem. Sim­i­larly, if your son wit­nessed, or ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of ver­bal abuse from his dad, then that might also ex­plain why he now ver­bally abuses oth­ers.

You also men­tion that your son has an on­go­ing speech de­lay. Have you had that as­sessed re­cently? As part of any as­sess­ment of his speech, have you con­sid­ered hav­ing abu­sive to the chil­dren as well. My son has an on­go­ing speech de­lay, lacks con­fi­dence and has low self-es­teem. He’s go­ing to school but hates it. I have noticed that when he’s not in school his be­hav­iours im­prove. I don’t know what to do, should I re­move him from school or leave him there? I don’t know what to do now. Help me please. his hear­ing checked? If your son has hear­ing prob­lems, then it might be af­fect­ing his abil­ity to un­der­stand what is be­ing said to him and also his abil­ity to ex­press himself clearly.

Re­cep­tive, or ex­pres­sive lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties can be enor­mously dis­tress­ing and frus­trat­ing for chil­dren, lead­ing to a range of act­ing-out be­hav­iours that can in­clude ver­bal ag­gres­sion.

Speech and lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties can also have a very detri­men­tal ef­fect on chil­dren’s self-es­teem. Even though the lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties might not be due to any kind of learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, chil­dren can feel like they are not as smart as their peers. If your son com­pares himself neg­a­tively with oth­ers, it may also ex­plain why he doesn’t like go­ing to school.

What is clear, from what you de­scribe for your son, is that his sit­u­a­tion is com­plex and so, con­se­quently, he may need sev­eral kinds of sup­port or in­ter­ven­tion.

Be­fore mak­ing a decision to re­move him from school, I do think you need to meet with his teacher and the school prin­ci­pal. You need to dis­cuss his speech de­lay with them, to see what their un­der­stand­ing is, and to check what kind of sup­port they are able to give him in school.

You also need to check how the other chil­dren treat him. It may be that he is get­ting teased for his speech and that this is also con­tribut­ing to his dis­like of school.

The fi­nal is­sue to dis­cuss with his teach­ers is his over­all aca­demic at­tain­ments in school. Even though his speech prob­lems are not nec­es­sar­ily due to learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, it might be worth dis­cov­er­ing if he does need ex­tra learn­ing sup­ports too. His school can re­quest help from the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tional Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ser­vice (NEPS) for this.

Once you have clar­ity about any ef­fect that school, or the de­mands of school, may be hav­ing on him, you can turn your at­ten­tion to the im­pact of the abuse that he suf­fered from his dad.

Even if he was treated badly by his dad, he may miss him a lot since the sep­a­ra­tion. His emotional world may be quite up­ended by both the abuse and the sep­a­ra­tion. Given his age, a ther­a­peu­tic in­ter­ven­tion, like play ther­apy or art ther­apy, might be a really help­ful way for him to be­gin to process the likely com­pli­cated feel­ings he has about his dad.

Fi­nally, look for as much emotional and prac­ti­cal sup­port for your­self as pos­si­ble, from friends, fam­ily or agen­cies like Women’s Aid. You, too, have had a very tur­bu­lent time and so you may be un­der huge pres­sure cur­rently.

The more you feel minded, the more you will be able to ef­fec­tively mind your son.

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