I guess you could say we had quite the weekend…
We had a visit scheduled for the boys’ siblings to come and spend the night on Saturday night. They all already knew about it, so we went forward with it even though we have decided that we cannot take them.
Saturday started out at a normal pace. Jae was having a little bit of trouble, but Zee was helping Brian paint an old dresser and seemed to be doing really well. Around 10:00 we had the boys go to clean their room – which seems to be equivalent to us asking them to catch fish with their bare hands for dinner – the most impossible task we could assign. It is all very dramatic. So at this point they get upset about how we are the most terrible, slave driving people on the planet because I’m making them pick up their dirty underwear.
This escalates a little for Jae. He ends up shoving Brian, so he has to spend time in the other bedroom to cool down. He does not cool down, earning him subsequent time in the bedroom. This continues until I am sure he’s not going to be coming out anytime soon – and at this point Zee has firmly stated that ‘He is not cleaning his room.’ So, I tell the boys that they can choose not to clean their room, but that if I have to clean it for them, they will have to pay me from their allowance for my time. Zee ended up helping me – Jae coughed up the cash.
Things weren’t getting any better, but we did not feel like the boys were completely out of control – definitely not enough to cancel the visit. But, if there is one thing our boys are good at, it’s showing us up right when we think things are ok.
Starting around 2:00 their behaviors began to escalate, and continued to do so until dinner time. (Their brother and sister joined us around 3:00.) They progressed to throwing their toys at us as hard as they could, hitting and kicking Brian in obvious attempts to hurt him, trying to throw the vacuum cleaner at Brian, trying to push him down the stairs, screaming threats and obscenities at us, and running throughout the house.
I stayed downstairs with their siblings and Sylvia in an effort to keep them out of harms way, although Zee did come down twice and hit his brother with toys. He also discovered a bottle of yellow craft paint that he attempted to squirt across our dining room, and they scratched the paint off of their bedroom door.
We tried several times to de-escalate them through talking an listening to no avail. We are legally not able to lock them in any rooms or restrain them unless it is self defense.
At around 6:00 we called the on-call worker at our agency to ask her what we should do. They were completely out of control and were being more physically aggressive then they ever have been in the past. Her suggestions were that we separate them, get them to calm down, and try to de-escalate their behaviors. If I didn’t have a filter, my response would have been, “No kidding? Really? Because I would have never though of those things. Thanks SO much for your assistance.” But I didn’t. Eventually she suggested that we call the police and have them come out to the house to show the boys how serious their behavior was.
So that’s what we did. I called the police and they came out. Jae was even disrespectful to the police officer until he required him to respect him. They discussed how serious their behavior was, let them know that next time this happens that the boys will be escorted to the juvenile detention center, and made them pick up all of the toys they had thrown all over the house.
After the police left, the boys attitudes returned to exactly how they had been prior to the officers coming out, but they were no longer physically aggressive. They threatened several times to run away, so Brian went up to their room and sat down with them to make a plan of how much it would cost and how they would earn their money. (In an effort to show them how unrealistic it is for them to run away.)
After their siblings left on Sunday, the boys’ behavior began to de-escalate and by dinner time they were back to their normal selves. We can only figure that their behavior was triggered by the visit. Generally when the boys lose control it is for a shorter period of time (an hour or so) and it ends with them breaking down in tears and being able to discuss, at some level, what it is that is fueling the anger. That didn’t happen this time, which makes me nervous that it was never resolved in their hearts and that there may be more to come.
I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with caseworkers trying to deal with all this – putting in my two cents and seeing how far it goes. We’ll see where we go from here…