My Adopted Child Is Violent–I Am Afraid for My Life, Dr. Keck!

Dear Dr. Keck,
I am posting this question because I’ve heard stories from many adoptive parents who have violent children. Also, they probably aren’t going to violate confidentiality and post their name here.
So, I am writing in their place….asking your wisdom.
What are the beginning signs of violence and at what age do they really start?
What are the classic signs that violent behavior is getting serious?
Can you give them some specific signs of when a teen needs hospitalization or residential care?
If any of you readers want to chime in, please do so.
Dr. Keck and colleague, Regina Kupecky, LSW, have written a wonderful book called Parenting The Hurt Child. I read it and I could have sworn I was a fly on the wall of a trauma expert’s office, overhearing incredible wisdom. It is a must read.


"This is as good as being in counseling with Dr. Keck and Regina Kupecky, LSW."
“This is as good as being in counseling with Dr. Keck and Regina Kupecky, LSW.”

4 responses to “My Adopted Child Is Violent–I Am Afraid for My Life, Dr. Keck!”

  1. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    Yes, Rosalie, so true. If anyone wants to message me privately on FB, I can post it anonymously here. I know there are sooo many hurting parents out there. Just trying to reach out to all of you and let you know you are in my heart. My FB is

  2. Rosalie Kelley Avatar
    Rosalie Kelley

    I agree that your followers (myself included) are just not brave enough to ask a question for your guest blogger and have their name out there in cyberland.

  3. Sherrie Eldridge Avatar

    What is “out of home care?”

  4. Greg Keck Avatar

    The signs of lasting violence often begin very early in life. The most serious symptoms of violence which may last for a long period of time are: fire setting, cruelty to animals, and bed wetting. When all three of these are seen in one child, they have been called the psychopathic triad. Many children wet the bed so, I do want to alarm anyone. Bedwetting alone typically means nothing, in terms of aggression/violence.

    If children exhibit aggressive behavior at home or daycare periodically, that is probably less serious than when there is a persistent pattern of violence. Early aggression may lead to the pattern that I mention. I have seen children who have exhibited early violence, who have ultimately, been helped through appropriate treatment; I have also seen children with these issues who have engaged in aggression in adolescents. I have only seen about six children who have killed a parent, however, when parents feel fearful of their child, they should attempt to get intensive treatment as early as possible. Residential treatment is not very helpful for addressing attachment problems as attachment needs to be treated within the context of the family; however, when there are serious safety concerns parents may need to seek out of home care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *