Growing up in a troubled and tumultuous home environment, Matthew regularly witnessed his parents arguing. Frequently, their arguments escalated into physical violence. Matthew began acting out at a young age and resorting to unhealthy ways to express his anger, including yelling and throwing and punching things. When that anger extended to his family, his mother and father knew they had to find additional help for Matthew.

One evening, Matthew was playing video games while his mother Linda was making dinner. She stopped by his room to ask him to turn off his game so they could all enjoy dinner together. When Matthew refused, Linda unplugged his computer. Enraged by her actions, Matthew jumped out of his chair and physically hit his mother.

Matthew’s father Joe heard the commotion and ran to his son’s bedroom. When Joe got to Matthew’s room, he found his wife sitting on the floor holding her cheek, and he immediately called the police.

Once the police arrived, Joe asked them to take Matthew to jail for the night to teach him a lesson about respecting his parents. Linda’s eyes filled with tears as she watched police put her son in the back of a police car. She realized they could not give Matthew the help he desperately needed. There had to be a better way to get through to him.

Police reported the incident to Child Protective Services (CPS), who came to the family’s home the next day to talk about options for Matthew. Matthew and his family decided it would be best if he was temporarily removed from his home. Where could he go to learn safer ways to manage his anger? His parents wanted to work on making their relationship healthier, as well. Matthew’s CPS worker suggested he go to the Heartland Family Service Jefferson House Group Home, where he would be able to have his physical, emotional, and psychological needs met.

When Matthew first arrived at the Jefferson House, he was skeptical about his new home. He did not feel like he could relate to any of the other teenagers there. He missed his mother and his father. But slowly, the compassionate employees at the Jefferson House built trust with Matthew and showed him that he did not have to be so angry all the time.

The caring Jefferson House team showed Matthew healthy ways to release his feelings and emotions. During his time there, Matthew found structure, stability, and effective coping strategies. He was able to regulate his emotions and build his self-worth.

Over the past six months, Matthew has made great progress in managing his anger. He now has the self-awareness to realize when he is feeling upset or dysregulated. Recently, he has been able to start visiting with his mother and father. He is expected to reunite with them very soon. Matthew is excited to be back with his family and is looking forward to sleeping in his own bed. Most importantly, he has learned lifelong coping skills and tools to continue to grow into a happy, healthy young man.