“We were unprepared to deal with these behaviors” – Jacob’s Story

Our son, Jacob, is a lovable, intelligent, insightful, funny and imaginative 5-year-old. Jacob can also be a manipulative, defiant child full of rage and prone to violent attacks and destruction of personal property. I believe that his mom and I are caring, capable parents, but we were unprepared and increasingly unable to deal with these disruptive behaviors.

It is difficult to describe the frustration and sense of helplessness we felt as we watched Jacob’s outbursts occur more and more frequently and become more severe. Jacob had attended preschool since age 3. He did okay for a while, but there were occasional episodes at home and school where he essentially lost control and descended into an animal-like state.

During these episodes he would growl, yell, paw the ground like an enraged animal and become physically violent toward his caregivers. Instead of lessening with time, these episodes became much more frequent until they were almost daily occurrences. My wife and I were frequently called to get Jacob from preschool and the babysitter’s home because they could not handle Jacob once he refused to participate in activities. We worked with his preschool, but in the end, his behavior was too disruptive and he required too much one-on-one care, so we withdrew him from his preschool.

By that time, our lives were consumed with dealing with Jacob’s behavior and it became apparent that his younger siblings were starting to mimic his behavior. We were referred to Behaven Kids, a center for children with ADHD and aggression problems. That may turn out to be the luckiest day of our lives.

Jacob has been attending Behaven Kids Specialized Day Program for about 5 weeks. During that time, the director has worked with Jacob’s mom and me on an almost daily basis to teach us how to parent Jacob. Jacob’s behavior has improved dramatically in a very short time. The director has even come to our home to watch how we interact with Jacob, and she invited us to the center to learn their program. Jacob’s positive changes have been carried over into all areas of his life.

Jacob is once again the loving, funny little boy that just 5 weeks ago we were unsure we would ever see again. My only regret is that I wish we had known of Behaven Kids sooner.