Downward Spiral and Pre-Residential Treatment Center (RTC) Purgatory

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by stepmama, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. stepmama

    stepmama stepmama

    My difficult child stepson is spiraling down. We suddenly have primary custody and husband is responsible for selecting Residential Treatment Center (RTC). While waiting for husband to select and place difficult child in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), difficult child won’t do much besides watch TV and eat. I feel scared of difficult child’s anger and stealing and lacking incentives to behave at this point. I have to cover warden duty solo one day this coming weekend due to husband business trip, but I feel intimidated and don't have much authority in the 1st place as stepmom. Does anyone have any ideas on motivating difficult child during this time of transition? or on how to handle my day alone with him?

    Last fall difficult child couldn't return to mainstream school due to dirty drug test (marijuana) required due to offense the prior spring. husband and difficult child’s mom didn’t take action, and after 6 weeks of fearful and unmotivated difficult child at home full-time, I selected wilderness program and got everyone on board. Unfortunately, the benefits didn’t last. Escalating difficult child troubles this semester: marijuana off and on, serious car accident, holes punched in walls, cocaine, and forging checks. When husband discovered check forging a month ago, he and difficult child’s mom agreed to Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    This is first time for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for difficult child. In the past, he’s cycled between therapeutic day schools and mainstream school. difficult child's mom usually has primary custody, but has wanted Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for nearly a year now and has recently left to work at a summer camp.
  2. maril

    maril New Member

    Hi, stepmama. I am sorry things are so difficult for you all.

    Regarding your day alone with your stepson: If you are concerned about handling the situation alone, I would ask for help from other family members; if possible, maybe one of his brothers (I see he has two adult brothers, according to your signature?). Do you have access to adolescent crisis team intervention, in case you would need support? That has been a helpful resource through our county for us in the past when our son was out of control.

    As far as motivating him while waiting for placement to occur: Prior to my son's placement in an inpatient program, we would just try to keep things on an even keel as much as possible and not escalate; now that he is more stable, it is easier to enforce limits and to communicate with him; just a thought.

    Good luck. I hope you are successful in finding a good Residential Treatment Center (RTC).
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and Welcome!!! Not sure if i welcomed you before. You can also introduce yourself on the Watercooler or General forums as they get more traffic.

    Are you afraid difficult child will become violent with you and hurt you or damage the house and your possessions? Or your other kids and their stuff?

    What do the psychiatrist and therapist and other "experts" suggest for handling this? Does your husband understand your fears? What has he suggested to handle this?

    My husband works 90 minutes away from home. He drives both ways. When Wiz lived here he was home by 4 and would terrorize me on his bad days until around 6 or 7. I finally had to start calling the Sheriff when he would become violent.

    You will need to make SURE your husband knows that you will do this, and press charges, if difficult child threatens you or hurts you in any way.

    It sounds like the family is lucky to have you. Not many step parents would go out of their way to arrange a step child's intervention like you did with the wilderness program.

    If I were you I would make sure I had my cell phone on my person at ALL times. That way if you have to run outside or lock yourself in a room you can call for help.

    I hope the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) happens SOON and that it is the right program. Sadly many parents try the Wilderness programs and find that improvements are fairly short lived. I hope and pray the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) can help him and can help the rest of you as you deal with this also. PTSD is RAMPANT among parents of difficult children!
  4. dadside

    dadside New Member

    I agree with the “don't rock the boat” suggestions already made. At the same time, be prepared to call the police if he does turn violent, whether toward you, toward property or toward others.

    As you've seen, wilderness can be wonderful, but requires follow-up of some sort. That an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (or some therapeutic boarding school of a different label) is now planned is good. However, in making a placement choice, I hope your husband recognizes that (a) the placement typically will have to be at least 9 months to be effective, and then only at programs with above-average therapeutic intensity and well-supervised environment, and (b) at 18, difficult child could legally “walk” from any program. Those factors, along with difficult child's academic needs for a high school diploma should be considered in any decision. Keeping those things in mind can narrow the field of possible placements rather rapidly.

    None of the programs “fix” or “cure” anything. What happens afterward is critical – environment, supports (or lack thereof), and other factors remain important. And, if your husband feels his son won't easily change and there are only very few months before he turns 18 and would “walk”, the best you should expect is a temporary respite, and alternative solutions might be in order.