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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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Hi, I am a male foster carer, (5yrs), working with 2 16 yr

Resolved Question:

Hi, I am a male foster carer, (5yrs), working with 2 16 yr old LAC's, boys, with extremely difficult behaviours following years of physical and sexual abuse when very young. One has been with us for over a year, the other 5 mnths. Both boys are expert in mind games, manipulation, lying, stealing etc, with some kind of major event on an almost daily basis.
The cumulative effect the stress has had on me, physically and mentally, leaves me on the verge of ending both placements and my career as a carer. Whilst I am still deciding what to do, I know that I have allowed myself to 'care too much' about the boys and cannot distance myself to a more professional level, as I am becomming unable to function through depression and anxiety. I ask you if there are any mind strengthening techniques that would help me, as I cannot lower my expectations of them any further, these already being beyond the very basic.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 7 years ago.
These boys certainly have a rough history. I would expect the worse in behavior from them. It is hard not to care anyway. Ultimately, they are unlikely to get better. I think the best course is to take care of yourself. Two years is likely to be hell. If yo haven't started dealing with jail, you will soon. I don't know you have to quit, just not take on such difficult kids (all are hard, but not like this). Perhaps a few months off. Above all, don't get down on yourself. You are the one being abused. If you were writing telling me these were your natural kids, I would recommend residential treatment for them. I really believe you should set a short time frame (30 days at most) and have them removed and force social services to place them somewhere they can get they level of help they need. That may be the most loving thing you can do for them. Otherwise, when they become 18 their "therapy" will be jail. Expect social services to try to guilt you out of it, but hang tough. Your welfare and the kids' welfare depends on them getting intensive help NOW.
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