Q:

My 13-year-old is violent

Hi Jude, I'm not in an abusive relationship with a partner. I am having trouble with my 13 year old son being abusive towards me. He is verbally abusive and at times physically abusive. He doesn't hit or punch but he pushes me a lot. This past week he pushed me hard into the kitchen bench and the same day pushed me across the room and then down onto a wooden day bed. In the past he's pushed me into walls and onto the floor and got on top of me. He's also pushed me off his bed onto the floor when I was sitting on the side trying to talk to him. He is a big boy. We are around the same height now and he is 77kgs and a lot stronger than me. In the past I have defended myself against him but find if I defend myself or fight back he is more likely to continue. If I don't he doesn't continue for so long. He has a very bad temper. 

This all makes me so sad and I'm feeling under a lot of stress. I've tried talking to my mother about it but she is unhelpful and blames me. I've seen my GP and she referred us to the Kary centre. We went there today but they said since my son doesn't have mental illness he doesn't qualify for their service. The lady said she will look for other services for us and call me in a week. The thing is, today I am now feeling more stressed than ever and not sure how I can get through another week of this. I just hope my son is in a good mood when he comes home from school. I do all I can for him but there is only so much I can take. I have one other son who is two years younger and also sick and tired of his brother. I have been told that I should call the police if he gets physically abusive again but I am afraid what will happen if I do. Also my son has said if I call the police he will tell them that I'm hitting him even though I'm not. I don't know how I can deal with the stress of this for the next week?


A:

Thank you for writing in and sharing. I appreciate how difficult this must be for you but please know there is help available.

I would like to suggest that as soon as you can you ring a social service agency in your area, share what is happening and they will make an appointment for you. If you ring our information line on 0800 456 450 they will be able to advise you who is in your area and give you contact details. There are many agencies who do family work and are specialised to work with children and families going through difficult times such as yours. They are very kind and very helpful. There are programmes that may also help your son and the agency will be able to advise you of these.

It may also be worth talking to the family worker about you needing some professional help and support for you as well. Working with the whole family is what would be needed as you have all been through so much. After talking to a family worker it will then protect you if your son did ever come in contact with the Police and he tried to tell them another version. If you make contact with an agency and for some reason you don't feel that they can help you in the way you need you can always contact Child Youth and Family.

Please know I am aware that this may sound very scary but they deal with this all the time and will be able to tell you what they can do to help. They also have the resources that can help. I know this is hard, extreme, but help is needed urgently and bringing in agencies would be a good place to start.

May I ask if you have had any conversations with the school around your son? If so maybe they could support you and help connect you with an agency.

Again, I know this is so difficult so please do whatever you need to do to get help and also to keep yourself safe. Do you have family and friends who can help support you at this time? If so please make contact and reach out. If not please make contact with an agency as soon as possible. Share what you shared with me, be completely honest about everything and also share with them the toll this is taking on you and that you are desperately in need of help and that you can't take much more.

I will be thinking of you and hoping that you find an agency to connect to. They will be able to offer you all sorts of supports and services that could help.

I wish you all the very best and please write back in if there is anything more at all that I could help you with.

Jude

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