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deal with a child who is vunrable themself telling someone to go kill themselves .


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As the foster carer for this child I'm torn between knowing about background issues but needing the child to realise how serious these comments and threats can be. they are nearly 13 and have had issues with bullying and being the bullied over a long period. The child shows no remorse and has a don't care attitude when grounded or has xbox etc removed. They have been settled here for 5 years so have had strong family around them. I feel continued issues around parental contact don't make their life easy. I just want to work with them to reassure them I will always be here to support them but I also I need to find a way help them help themselves before this ruins there future.

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Hello @understandwhy


Thanks for posting this, I can really empathise with how hard it is to support someone that doesn't seem to want it. It’s really useful to havetools to know what to do when someone in your care is exhibiting harmful bullying behaviours.


From our research a lot of people that exhibit bullying behaviour have often had stress or trauma occur in their lives or have, as you have said been bullied in the past. I find sometimes, especially young people of this age can use this kind of language in games on online really flippantly without understanding the gravity of what they are saying. Is he saying it to others in a targeted manner? Or in passing?


I would suggest just asking him why he wants someone to go kill themselves, and then how he would feel if that actually happened to put it into a real-life context.


He is 13, and therefore may be re-processing all of his childhood trauma from a more mature perspective and therefore although he is settled with you he may be re-living stuff from the past which could be causing him to act out. This coupled with the fact he is in regular contact with parents may be a contributing factor to why he is unable to emote around his behaviour.


What you are already doing - showing him that you are here for him is exactly what he needs right now, he needs to have strong boundaries, stability and know that he is loved, even if he pushes against you, especially if he pushes against you, it’s good for him to know you will always be there to support him and that you aren't going anywhere. This role-modeling behaviour and positive reinforcements are vital for looked after children.


Are there any clubs you could get him into, football, karate, boxing - where he could view some positive role-modelling but without the pressure of it being at home?


Edited by Remi

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