Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yesterday difficult child missed his first class at school. Today he's refusing to go to school. He isn't worried a bit about being in trouble at school or legally. I feel like calling that PO and telling her that I need her backing not her interruption of my authority. Somehow she will turn this into being my fault and difficult child knows it. I can't even work dependable hours due to his being so unpredictable. I know he's having issues right now but he still has to get up and try like the rest of us. Turning all into someone else's responsibility (mine) is doing him no favors, in my humble opinion. I would ask someone at school to talk to him but I think all they will do is write him up for truancy, then I'll still catch helkl from the legal people. Or, they will want to come over and talk to him and I would die if someone saw this house right now. All my time is spent on trying to stay one step ahead of a crisis and the house is a disaster. I'm seriously think this boy needs a few weeks out of the house. But I have a stroing feeling that everyonoe would tell him it was so I could get myself straight and put it all on me. And require more demands from me instead of him. They always seem to have a way of driving a bigger wedge between us.

    Should I stay home this morning and straighten the house then call later today and report him for truancy?
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    What is going on with difficult child right now? Is he anxious? Depressed? Worried about something specific at school?
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He's supposed to make up that math test today that he missed yesterday. But his attitude- He has a smirk on his face and said "I'm not going", he locked himself in his bedroom and went back to bed. Last year he did something similar, except I was conceerned he might be harming himself so I tried to bust through his door (ruining it) and he came flying out of his room and completely destrouyed my bedroom door. So now I just don't fight it. I told him he is losing the xbox and computer for a long time.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He did open the door to take his medications. I caught him trying to sneak downstairs to play xbox at 10:00 last night and sent him back to bed. To the best of my knowledge, he went to sleep then but I can't guarantee it. He told psychiatrist on Mon. that he woke up during the middle of the night sometimes but that he wasn't having sleep problems. Both psychiatrist and I looked at each other and I said I'm not so sure about that. I know he's having these issues. It's the fact that he is mentally viewing a way out by being able to put the responsibility on me instead of facing that he has them. If that makes any sense. Kind of liike the alcoholic that is blaming someone else instead of owning up to their own issue.

    I can call his attny and see what he suggest but he'll send me a bill for $75 for the phone conversation. Or, I can call his GAL and she can't send me a bill. However, I'm not so sure she gets it either. She has a tendency to acting impulsively- like a rogue- and recommend things to the judge that she doesn't know enough about. And they are things that put more on me instead of difficult child, too. I have to do something though, or else I will be charged.

    OK, maybe I'll have a conversation with the principal? She understood how the legal authorities were approaching things last year and I need to make sure that she knows that I am not allowing him to be truant.

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It certainly makes sense that he is blaming someone else for the issue. Have you considered taking the door off the hinges? You can put a sheet over the door for privacy, but he wouldn't be able to lock you out. It might be a step toward taking your authority back. Tell him if he damages your door he is losing whatever he has that isn't a bed, a couple of outfits, and meals. But only if you are willing to do it.

    I am sorry, I had a feeling yesterday that this would happen. It is a clear challenge to your authority. Somehow you MUST reclaim your authority. Ignore the PO, do what you feel you need to.

    sending hugs,

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I left a message for the principal to call me. She is out today but will be in tomorrow. Then, I called difficult child's attny (dread that bill) and updated him on everything. He advised me to not do what the PO says regarding games, cell phone, and other strictly parental decisions. He advised me to have this meeting with the principal then document it in a followup letter and copy the GAL. He said it was a tough call whether or not to copy the PO because it would get difficult child sent back before the judge. We decided that I'll make that choice after meeting with the principal. He advised me to keep doing as I am because he said I'm handling things the best way and he would be happy to defend them in front of any judge.

    I asked him about out-of-home placement due to the financial situation and he told me to avoid it as much as I possibly could because we cannot trust the government to make the right decisions.

    Then, he spoke with difficult child and told him he better get up, get dressed, and get to school or else this probably will end up before the judge again and she will more than likely revoke his suspended sentence. difficult child is not budging- he fell right back to sleep. The attny had told me that if this goes to court, we will get psychiatrist to write a letter saying difficult child has been having depression and anxiety issues and that I needed more support than what PO has been giving in order to keep difficult child on track with dealing with his issues.

    I think I got lucky when I found an attny who has a young son diagnosis'd with possible BiPolar (BP).
  7. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    I agree with susie that you might consider taking his door off. If for nothing else I feel it's a safety issue if they can lock their door and you can't get in. What if something happened, would take too long to break in to help. Not too mention, with the smirk (yeah I've seen that too) he's saying you have no authority over him, not even to enter a room in your house if you want.

    The xbox and computer, if he's sneaking to play it and not sleeping, maybe disconnect it when you go to bed, they don't work without the power cord. When I took ps2/xbox away from my difficult child, I'd always remove it completely. Sometimes hide it in my room, and at times when I thought I might cave and let him have it LOL I'd store it elsewhere (at work or the trunk of the car). It was always the best consequence for my difficult child as it was the thing he hated losing most, but it was always a punishment for me too, because for a period of time he would always whine he had nothing else to do, though eventually he'd find something.

    Glad you at least have a good attny in this who gets where you're at and the problems your facing. Helps to have at least one of the professionals in your life understanding and being supportive, though I don't know if it's worth $75 too often
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I wish I had the magic answer for you. All the others have given any advice that I would have given, just wanted to let you know that I am here and thinking of you. For me one of the hardest things to deal with is the blame, it is so and so's fault. The fact that sometimes it is so hard it is nearly impossible for difficult child's to take ownership for their actions.
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Sounds like you're doing the best you can.

  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I don't know! I think I would have given up a long time ago, if that makes you feel any better!
    Hang in there.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I like your attorney. You are right, it is good to have one that KNOWS the road we walk along.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks all! Shortly after I posted last, difficult child got up and said he didn't want to be truant, that he just couldn't make himself wake up and move but that he would go to school. I took him to school then and went on to work for a while. I called psychiatrist and left a message and am still going to discuss this with the principal tomorrow.
  13. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    You poor darling! He sounds like my 15 yr old difficult child 2 - he knows he's got me and his dad right where he wants us, doesn't think anyone can do anything to him.

    Glad you have that lawyer in your life, you need at least one authority figure who is in your corner giving you a pat on the back. We also have social workers, DCF, attorney and P.O. involved with us for relatively minor infractions which are worsening because our son thumbs his nose at authority. If you think it's bad now, wait two years, when he's physically larger.

    Stick to your guns. Take the door down,that'll blast his circuits. He gets it back when he's fixed your door and you can trust him not to trash your house. Make him help clean up the house and make getting his valued possessions (whatever they are, xbox, easy child, laptop, etc) contingent upon him doing what you ask. I've backed down so many times in the past that my kids think I'm a joke, and I have to expend a lot more energy now to enforce my rules, but you must do it or you'll never have a minute's peace.

    You need to make up a list of consequences for him that you can actually enforce. In my sitch, because my son is physically able to pry my hands off him and walk out the door, I can't really ground him, but I can take away stuff and since he lives primarily with dad (not his choice), I can control his access to my house, where he has a rather nice room to himself. I can refuse to give him rides. I never give him cash anymore for any reason because he has been known to spend it on weed.

    I'm patting you on the back now for being a brave warrior mom. Stay strong, I've been in your shoes for years now and I know a bit about what you are going through.
  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am glad he finally went to school. How frustrating!

    When easy child was about 11 yrs old, she decided one morning not to go to school. She was having some problems that she did not want her teacher to know about. I was so angry with her I said very sternly, "You have to go to school. If YOU do not want to go, then YOU call the school and YOU tell your teacher why YOU don't want to come in today! I am not going to call because I think YOU need to be in school. Here is the phone." She decided she would rather go to school than call and tell her teacher why she wasn't going to be there.

    After difficult child's psychiatric hospital stay last fall, he did not want to go back to school the day after he came home. I called the SW of the psychiatric hospital who just said, "He has to go!." "I KNOW! But HOW!???" Somehow I got him going. Don't remember what I said to convince him.
  15. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I agree with the suggestion to take your son's door off. This is the second time he's done this and it's a safety as well as an authority issue. Even though he eventually went to school he did it on his schedule, at his convenience, and made you unable to go in to work at the usual time. Ditto on the suggestions for fixing your door, cleaning the house etc. Refusing school is a major authority challenge and deserves major consequences. {{Hugs}} Keep your chin up, you're doing great!

    ps I know this is a tough situation and I sympathize. My difficult child had school refusal, fortunately at an age when I could still - barely - physically make him get in the car. One morning he ran across several backyards, away from me and the TSS, and screamed all the way into the house. The school said, 'He HAS to be here!'. So I grabbed him and drove him in, with him screaming blue murder all the way. I dragged him in to the principal's office and the staff looked at me and said, 'You can't leave him here like this!'. I said, 'Just watch me. You keep telling me I can't handle him correctly, well, here's your chance to do it 'right'.' And I walked out. The staff were easier to deal with after that. ;)
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Klmno-No suggestions from me just want to send supporting hugs your way. We're dealing with easy child and her not wanting to go to school right now and it is driving me crazy.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    klmno, I'm glad and relieved he finally went in. What a complicated mess! I feel for you.
    Did he miss the math test?
  18. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    klmno, it may vary by state or even school district, but my understanding is that if a medical doctor (as in pediatrician or psychiatrist) writes a letter excusing the child from school, the school district must honor it, even if the child doesn't have an IEP. What's going on with difficult child sounds as if it's in part medical (psychological). Did the psychiatrist ever call you back?
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    SW, I think that, too. But, I also think that difficult child has been to so many people that have so many different opinions that he's turning it into manipulation because instead of getting help, he's learning how to play the system. He's seen too many people disagree instead of focusing on helping him, in my humble opinion. I'm going to see a therapist that difficult child had while in the psychiatric hospital on Mon., then difficult child is supposed to start individual counseling with him the following week. difficult child speaks highly of him and wants to talk to him. I'm a little nervous about it because it appears that every time before that I have tried to discuss things with a therapist who will be working with difficult child, the therapist gets defensive or looks at me like I'm way out of line and I just really don't get it. I'm his parent and no other prof I hire to work with difficult child (medication dr, psychiatrist, attny, etc) gets this way when I try to discuss what I'm hiring them to do. And most of us here know- you can't just take for granted that a therapist will provide the services you are looking for, even with documentaion in hand from higher qualified people.

    Also, there seems to be an issue with the fact that difficult child has been in (and still is in) trouble legally. Apparently, every therapist believes the first priority should be behavior modification once a kid has gotten into trouble. Never mind if the legal behavior is a symptom of a bigger problem.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  20. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I guess we are in in a different situation because my son has never been in legal trouble.

    I personally don't believe that our difficult children give a lot of forethought to manipulating the system. It may look like manipulation, but a lot of their behaviors in reality are maladaptive coping strategies (as in they shut down and avoid rather than face and confront their problems).

    Good luck with the therapist next week.