Perhaps my last post was an unfair portrayal of my co-workers. They certainly do not deserve the criticism my brother aimed at them. One of them is the kids' new therapist, and before you say "Well, that makes it even worse," I must point out that it was her first day on the job and that I don't think she's done much work with children. Her last job was in Hospice care.
And as for the other two staff persons, they are so dedicated to the job, they worked many hours overtime in addition to their usual hours during the kids' vacation this past week. I'm sure they were more than tired and certainly not "at their best" at the time those events took place.
I should perhaps also point out that the boy I talked about is skilled enough at other games (most notably, basketball and checkers) that adults do not need to "let him win"; he can often win by his own merit.
And perhaps most importantly, the same boy has some megalomanic tendencies, also. He frequently talks about how much stronger, taller, smarter, more knowledgeable, etc. he is than another child in the program, and heaps unutterably cruel verbal abuse upon her. Earlier that morning he called her an "ogre" because she was "eating like a dog" and said that he himself is "perfect." He seems to have an intense need to rule the roost, and assert his dominance over other children and, if possible, the staff.
I can imagine my co-workers supposing that allowing the boy to win would feed into his megalomanic tendencies. I would have to disagree, though. I would guess that his need to assert himself springs from his lack of self esteem, and that we should try to build his self esteem by all legitimate, age-appropriate means possible, so that he won't have to resort to unacceptable means.
So, anyway, I did not mean for you all to get the impression that my co-workers are bad people, or even that they are not good with kids--because most of the time, they are. But working with children who have serious emotional problems makes it hard to know how to respond to them, at times--not to mention how much emotion it stirs up in the staff--which certainly can impair one's ability to respond appropriately to the children.