My 13-year-old grandson lives with his grandfather and myself. He is completely out of control. He will not shower or maintain basic good hygiene. He refuses to do simple chores around the house. He has a foul mouth and calls us names I can’t even write down. We are in our 80s and are unable to physically control him. Is Boys Town willing to take him in?
Your grandson is struggling with out-of-control behaviors to the point where intervention is needed. If you have not done so already, have your grandson evaluated for mental health conditions. Has he had substance abuse treatment? Does he receive counseling, or is he on medication? Do you go to family counseling? Have you tried any special academic programs or day treatment programs?
It sounds like you want your grandson to be placed outside the home. It is important to exhaust all local resources before placing your son at Boys Town. There are documents you will need to gather before going through the admissions process. These are a psychological or psychiatric evaluation performed within the last six months by a psychologist or psychiatrist; pertinent school information such as transcripts, individualized educational plans and behavioral reports; and a letter from the youth explaining why he wants to come to Boys Town.
This letter needs to include at least one personal goal that he wants to work on while he is at Boys Town (anger issues, academics, coping skills, etc.). This letter usually is the most difficult thing to obtain because many kids do not want to be placed outside of their homes.
Explain what his alternatives are if he doesn’t participate in the program. Once you’ve sent in all the information, the process takes about 30 days if the youth qualifies. Visit our website at www.boystown.org to learn more about the residential program.
It is important that you take care of yourself at this difficult time. Do you have someone to offer support? Though we are not right there with you, we are here 24/7 to support you and your family. Call us anytime at 1-800-448-3000.
I am afraid that my nearly 9-year-old daughter might have a mental health problem. I’ve noticed the following behaviors for a few years, but they are getting more pronounced as she gets older.
She is overly sensitive and cries quite a bit. She is extremely self-centered. She wants to decide what game to play, and when her friends voice a different opinion she quits and sulks. She engages in attention-seeking behavior, such as demanding that everyone watch her dance. She talks incessantly and makes untrue statements. She is overly affectionate, often hugging her friends while they pull away.
Her behavior is resulting in her being excluded from peer groups. She says nobody likes her and she doesn’t know why.
She also excessively worries and is afraid to be alone. She won’t even go into a room by herself. Instead, she follows me around the house day and night. She needs a lot of praise, but when she gets it she only criticizes herself. She complains of physical ailments, but her doctors cannot find anything medically wrong with her. On the plus side, she is very bright and is doing well in school academically.
If you have not done so already, we encourage you to talk to your daughter’s pediatrician regarding a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a mental health evaluation. This evaluation can help determine if your daughter is struggling with a mental health issue and if further intervention is needed, such as counseling.
It is important that you discuss with your daughter how her behavior affects others. Do not shy away from it out of fear that it will hurt her feelings. Be kind, but be direct. She already knows that her peers are responding to her negatively, but she does not seem to understand why.
It is important to teach her skills such as having a conversation, getting along with others, accepting criticism, listening to others, etc. Acquiring these skills will result in more positive social interactions with her peers. She will come to learn what is and what is not acceptable behavior.
Is your daughter involved in extracurricular activities like sports or dance? These activities provide a sense of accomplishment and bring her into contact with other children who share her interests. Volunteering is another good option. It causes your daughter to think of others’ needs rather than focusing on herself so much.
You might want to consider a parenting class to help you deal with your daughter’s behavior. You could also read the book “Common Sense Parenting: Using Your Head as Well as Your Heart to Raise School-Aged Children” by Ray Burke, Ph.D., Ron Herron and Bridget A. Barnes. This book contains information on the social skills previously mentioned and how best to teach these skills.