Concerned about difficult child coming home

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child is currently incarcerated but due to be relaeased in about 7-8 weeks. He has not gotten into drugs but has a history of several serious illegal activities and has admitted "trying to do huffing" but says he couldn't figure out how to do it right- I do believe that somewhat.

    He has said enough to me that shows his attitude of wanting to get off parole, which he;'ll be on upon release, but then expresses interest in smoking pot. He apparently thinks he can get off parole, start smoking pot but it won't lead to any other serious problem even if he occasionally does cocaine or something, and hide it from me because he knows I would turn him in.

    Another concern is that when I try to advise him about transitioning back into mainstream and getting along with kids who haven't had the illegal activity he's had, he acts like he "has learned what he should have learned from his father and knows how to fit in now"- which by what he says means just trying to appear cool and tough. He's 15yo by the way- just turned 15. Anyway, I do think the lack of a father role in his life played a big part early on in his adding things up wrong in his own mind, but at this point, I honestly don't think he'd listen to a father even if he had his bio in the home.

    I realize that a lot of this is typical teen for a boy his age, but he IS a difficult child. I'm trying not to think in a black and white manner, but I see no in between here. Can someone help me with finding that? My heart wants him home but my head is giving up and thinking that if he's decided already just to play the system, hide whatever isn't allowed from me just to have me support him and provide him a home and take care of him, then forget it. But on the other hand, he's 15yo and has no place to go that wouldn't lead to mmore inappropriate behavior being condoned, encouraged, and possibly even abuse.

    So how do I prepare for this? If he comes home and messes up, I get blamed and lose custody anyway. The things I want for him- he acts like he wants to do well in school but he seems to think that he can do those other things and "be cool" with these guys and still do well in school and go to college. It isn't college that is the biggest issue with me- it's that he doesn't get that he's not going to get a dlap in the hand if he does drugs or gets in trouble again. He has a juvenile record.

    Do I give up on him? Do I detach like he was an adult? Do I bring him home and just try to get him out of the system, even when that means covering for him and puitting my rear on the line? Is there something in between?
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm rather confused with all start off by saying he's not into drugs. He told you he tried huffing, but could'n't get it right (not sure I would buy that one) but then he has had a conversation about wanting to start smoking pot and occasionally due cocaine???? What kind of conversation is that for a boy who by your own words "hasn't gotten into drugs"? He's kinda living in a fantasy it seems.

    I wouldn't be focusing on the "father" issue at this point because it's mute. I would be focusing on the drug issue. Sounds like he's given this some thought because he's admitted it to you. While he was doing the illegal acts, was he ever drug tested?

    Have you shared these words of his with his docs? Sounds to me like he's planning on coming home and doing what he wants. Sounds like a serious plan of action need to start being made. You need to decide where you draw your line in the sand and then go from there. I would imagine you will begin with his going back to school - from there I would set my school expectations. Then the social expectations. Will he be allowed social privilages during the week or just on the weekend? What will the parole guidelines be that you can tap onto? Will he have use of a cell phone? I think you need to start putting your expectations down and begin to share those with him and his doctor. I think this young man needs to know what life will be like when he gets out. I agree with you that he appears to think he just go on as before without consequence. I think it's up to you to stay strong and lay down the law.

    By the way, how's the independent contracting going?

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Let me try to clear the confusion- he's incarcerated now so I don't think he's done any drugs the past year. Before that, he was on probation and getting random drug tests and I kept a pretty close eye on him so the only thing he could have done without getting caught (if you add up what he might have had access to and not tested for) would have been huffing. He has always sworn that he's never done any drugs. At visitation this weekend the subject came up and I mentioned how dangerous huffing was and damaging to the body/brain- potentially life threatening- and directly asked if he'd ever tried it. He told me he knew how dangerous it was and some boys told him about it a few years ago. Apparently they told him people could sniff paint, cans of glue and whipped cream. He said we had no cans of glue so he tried sniffing a can of paint but must not have "done it right" because it didn't do anything for him and the same thing with a can of whipped cream. The reason I think he's telling the truth is that I can see my son at 12yo or so opening a can of paint or spraying it outside, breathing over it, and not getting high so he gave up. And with the can of whipped cream- my son would have eaten it before trying hard enough to get high from it.

    I do see that this was still an effort to get high and am not overlooking the fact that it was definite expermentation. But I think he's been living with these boys who most have tried street drugs and he views pot use as almost a norm now but views huffing as a kid's thing.

    He knows he'll have drug tests while on parole and says he knows he can't get by with trying pot or anything as long as he's on parole. He's obviously learned mre and heard a lot more about drugs from kids who he's incarcerated with than kids he was going to middle school with before incarceration, altthough some of them were starting to talk about it- and it turned one boy in for having some to sell. Department of Juvenile Justice knows this and had previously recommended him getting some substance abuse program. The problem is that it is hard to find preventative type programs thru Department of Juvenile Justice funding. Their programs deal with kids who are already onn drugs and been caught so any proogram he went to thru Department of Juvenile Justice/parole would be putting him in with kids who already have a drug habit, where he would learn more about drugs instead of prevention.

    I can still discuss it with his PO but I'm not sure how to really solve the problem if difficult child has it in his head that he won't do drugs as long as he's on parole, but will "try" them once he's off. Then what's the answer- keep him on juvenile parole until he's 18yo?

    The thing is, there is really only so much I or anyone else can do to prevent it if he's bound determined to do it once he's released. The best hope is that once he's released he figures out that pot use really isn't a norm for mainstream teens- but that might very well be too idealistic. Especially for a kid who is going to have trouble making friends at a new school with kids who have stayed out of trouble- he's obviously going to relate more to the kids who have been in legal trouble, and pot use very well might be the norm for them. Maybe the mentor can help in this area, I don't know.

    When difficult child made the comment that he knew better than to try pot or any drugs while on parole (due to random drug tests and an automattic re-incarceration), I told him that even when he was off parole, I coould and would still turn him in if I caught wind of any drug use. He said he knew that.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    It sounds to me as though your difficult child has created a new self-image for himself. He's the cool, super-tough guy with a rap sheet, now. So naturally, he wants to do what all the other super-cool tough guys are doings--staying out all night, smoking drinking, smoking pot etc.

    on the other hand--he doesn't realize that is a separate road from doing well in school, graduating, going on to college and having a nice life. In his mind, there is no reason he cannot do both. He can be super-cool now AND still get a college scholarship.

    At age 15? I'm not sure how much you will be able to reason with him. He's going to have to make his own choices....

    and if he chooses the 'tough-guy" role, he is going to learn the hard way that that road is pretty short.

  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    DF, that summed up about all my thoughts on this.

    The conversation will be coming up again at the next visitation, to be sure! I can't control his choices or the consequences from the legal side, but frankly if he's sitting in there trying to get out and still having thoughts of any sort of illegal activity running thru the back of his mind, what is the point of getting out? And why put me thru it- I can't afford anymore legal bills, mental stress, damage, etc.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My personal thoughts are that if he is having this talk with you he may be just trying to see how much he can scare you because most kids wouldnt admit this, however, Cory is the opposite and told us everything so obviously there are kids who are out of the norm. Yours may be too. I would have never told my parents what I was up to!
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh yeah- I'm pretty sure of that!! LOL! Sometimes he talks about places he doesn't want to go or stuff he doesn't want to get involved in because he says it will give him a better chance of staying out of trouble, so it's hard for me to tell if he's just swinging back and forth between really trying or wwhat. But he's told tdocs for 2 years that he's tempted to try drugs but hasn't done it yet. Dumb for admitting it to these people (tdocs in Department of Juvenile Justice) maybe, but I think it's honest and true for even typical teen's.

    He just seems to try to go in opposite directions at the same time- like DF mentioned. And get this- he says he's currently reading the Bible. That fits well with trying illegal drug use at 15, huh?
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    That doesn't surprise me at all...

    Lot's of folks get "saved" in prison.

    And as far as trying to huff the paint in your probably had the "wrong" kind of paint. Regular latex housepaint won't give a person near the high an oil-based paint would.

    So...your son is telling you that he tried huffing, but it didn't work for him. Sounds like you just need to be extra alert for signs of drug use when he gets out (and make sure you don't have any of the "right" kinds of household products for huffing).

  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yep- and did that before too. I forgot to mention that I found a paint can a year or so ago and figured that's what he'd tried. Another reason I believe it "didn't work" as far as making him high- there are paint cans (yes, latex) all around here since we moved into a fixer-upper 3 1/2 years ago and if this had made him high or he liked it, they would have all ended up empty or gone.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think you can ever keep completely ahead of kids if they are determined to try something. Best you can hope for is its a once or twice thing and he doesnt like it. Eventually he is going to be on his own and he will be able to do what he wants.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    True- isn't pot the drug that doesn't always get people high the first time or two? Maybe I (and difficult child) will get lucky and if/when he tries it, it won't get him high so he won't try again. Seriously, I just hope he wises up after his release and he can get around kids who aren't doing this stuff, before he has opportunity to try it. I do think I should mention it to PO though so he can maybe understand why I don't let difficult child go "out to play" at certain times, and maybe he won't be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like the probation officer was about it.
  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    klmno, my take on this is difficult child trying to fit in somewhere, anywhere once he's released (& this is only what I'm getting out of what you've said; wasn't there for the discussion)

    I also assume a great deal of this could be anxiety related ~ I would be surprised & a bit nervous if difficult child didn't exhibit some type of anxiety at this transition in his life. I expect he's terrified.

    Saying that, before kt was released we spent a good deal of time in family sessions discussing the rules & expectations kt would have to meet. Addionally, kt was informed of my "line in the sand", if you will. Once she steps over that line she will be placed out of the home.

    Not saying that will be your course of action, just suggesting that difficult child knows before he arrives home what is expected, what privileges he will have to earn & how he can earn them. difficult child cannot be telling you ~ you must tell him what the game plan is & how it will be played.

    Just a few things for you to consider. Keep us updated on the transition home.
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    I think your approach has to be one of expecting the best but preparing for the worst. Seems like those of us with difficult child are no strangers to experiencing feelings that others would view as mutually exclusive (joy and despair at the same time).

    My heart is saying to you "don't give up on him yet". My head is saying "have a backup plan". I am partial to 12 step programs if drugs or addiction of any kind do manifest.

    Wow, what a heavy heart you must have. Keep your chin up and take it all as it comes, trying not to predict or read too much into tomorrow; it just makes you crazy!

    Love and hugs,

  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Ladies! We have just started covering terms of priviledgs, TL- we are doing it thru letters because we communicate better that way when it comes to sensitive issues but we do need to step it up and get further with it. He will be on house arrest for the first 30 days so that takes care of the initial transition and gives me a little time to see how he might adjust. One problem that I learned the hard way while he was on probation, is that when they are on parole or probation, they are really still under the control of the legal authorites and I have NO rights to place him anywhere- they are the ones to make that decision, unless I just turn him over to DSS. I have no place to send him tho because I don't consider any of my extended family appropriate so it makes no difference. So the issue is getting the parole officer on the same page - if difficult child breaks a law he automatically gets reincarcerated. But if he is not obeying house rules and leaving without my permission for example, the PO could put him on house arrest or he could ignore it- it just depends on him.

    ML- I'm with you on 12-step programs. And if a person needs individual therapy in addition for a while, I'm a firm believer that it needs to be with a therapist who is on the same page of 12 step programs and not one who tries to force their own methods.