He's handsome and slender with a beautiful smile. He also has many problems, all of which are made worse by having lived in a violent home. Unfortunately, group conditions for kids, teens, and women at the shelter are very crowded and a bigger shelter with sufficient space is not on the horizon.
So we watch him deteriorate under crowded, overheated conditions. We stop his outbursts as quickly and as well as we can. He needs to move around, play, have fun. All the kids do. The other kids, for the most part, accept that during the Holiday season, there's less space for them. He can't because he can't tolerate frustration.
Recently, he really "blew." Part of his tirade would have made a batterer proud. He shouted that a girl was "bothering him", that he wanted to hit her, and that she had to treat him right or she'd be sorry.
This is a telling reflection, probably, of what he and other kids experience as they watch their male model in a home with domestic violence. It is also a good demonstration of what batterers seem to believe:
*His partner and kids must make his home life stress free by doing everything right and exactly as he has decreed.
*If they fail in this impossible task, he is justified in meting out abuse of any kind.
*if the initial abuse does not bring them around, he can threaten even more dire consequences and carry them out as "needed."
The small ray of hope I have for this child comes from observing that he seems to really want to do the right thing when he's upset and he's proud when he succeeds in turning himself around and acting appropriately.
Beyond that, I don't know what the future holds for him and his family. I can only hope he continues to improve so his partner and kids don't experience what he has. And pass it on to the next generation.