How to survive at home with violent teen

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Penguin, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Penguin

    Penguin New Member

    Hi there,

    I have been an avid reader of this forum and posted years ago about my DS. My DS is 14 and has been diagnosed with ADHD and CD. They also think he is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but won't make the diagnosis. He is my biological child with no early trauma etc.

    DS is currently in Juvenile Detention for breaking an AVO against the family for the 3rd time. He has been in a week and they want to release him back into the home. I am in Australia and we don't have residential centres like in the US.

    We have tried to help DS with various long term counselling, paediatricians, pyschartists and more recently enrollment in a private school for troubled teens where they stay for the week and come home on weekends. He lasted 8 weeks and was expelled for keeping knives under the bed, sneaking out at night, talking about how to kill someone, leaving a drawing of stabbing a teacher. And This was a place he liked !

    After continuous violence at home, kicking in doors, throwing things, punching and kicking myself, his 14 sister and husband we took out an AVO. We have reported him breaching it 3 times to the police but he pretty much behaves that way most days.

    He is on risperidone and trialling straterra but will not take medications. He shop lifts, graffiti,hangs off trains and smokes weed and drinks alcohol. We have absolutely no control over him. We used to do consequences/rewards up until age 13 when any infringement resulted in violence.

    I just can't take it anymore. I worry for my daughter, husband and myself. The escalation in violence is frightening. I feel that one day you will read about us being killed by son. I can't believe they want to return him to us.

    I have spoken to our community services and they said I have to relinquish my responsibility if I want him placed elsewhere (group home). My husband and I are gutted at this but feel like we don't have any options. We feel the best thing would be to have him in a medical facility to help with his mental health but they said they only take them if they are bipolar or Sczophrenic. We have no family that can take him and honestly we wouldnt want to put that risk on anyone.

    Has anyone relinquished care? Or did you put up with the violence until they were 18?

    Thanks for reading

  2. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    I understand what you are going through. My son would do damage in our home. With residential not being an option for you, I'm not sure what to say. We wound up getting our son court ordered into residential which was the best thing for us. Hopefully, someone will come along soon who can give you advice. Hugs and positive thoughts being sent your way.
  3. Penguin

    Penguin New Member

    Thank you Flowergarden. I'm glad things worked out for you. It's sad that in Aust there are not many options as we would gladly pay for him to be in a facility full time to get the help he needs. Community Services said they will get back to me so I'll see what they say.
  4. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I don't know your system where you live...but if the two options with a violent teen for 4 more years (18 in my country) or relinquishing custody, I know I would have to choose the latter, to keep your other child safe...

    And maybe away from his family, he might be more receptive to help.

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is a situation that is agonizing for any parent, esp ones who love their kids the way you clearly do. To be honest, I would relinquish custody if possible. My son was very violent and even saying "Good Morning" could be cause for him to attack me or his siblings. I was blessed in that my father was a jr high teacher who retired and then needed a project. We think much of my son's issues were due to not being able to cope in a household with m ore than 1 child, so he needed to be an only child. No one told us this until I was pregnant with my 3rd child, so that wasn't going to happen in our home. I am still married to the father of my kids, and we are not planning to separate at any time (don't believe in it and still love each other).

    My father dealt with troubled kids, worst of the worst, for most of his career. My mother was desperate for my father to have a project so he would not drive her nuts being home all day, so they begged to have my difficult child live with them. They lived 20 min away at most, so it was not like we couldn't see him and be involved with him. I was maybe a week away from an out of home placement when my parents asked for this, and we were involved with the court because I just couldn't handle the violence or have my other kids living with the violence for any longer. We gave my parents a chance because it meant so much to them, and we had to pull WAY back. I was the mom who was always at school, always involved, made the costumes and baked for the school parties, etc... It was HARD to pull back, esp so totally. But i did it because it was best for ALL of my kids.

    You NEED to do what your other child needs. Her needs MUST be a priority, not his. And she NEEDS a home where there is no violence, where she is safe. You know he won't change with-o a major change. She, sadly, will change. She will become less and less trustful, less cooperative, and will likely become very angry if you don't make some changes to keep her safe. He clearly does not care about you, or consequences. Many kids on the autism spectrum actually do very well in institutional settings like group homes. They are not as attached to family and they thrive on the routine.

    It really sounds like you have done all you can for him at home. He needs a wake-up call, and some real consequences. I would stay involved to a degree, but relinquish day to day stuff for the health of the rest of the family. I know it sounds harsh, but you can only do so much.

    I would caution you about the Conduct Disorder diagnosis in one so young. Kids don't have fully developed brains and are not actually able to be diagnosed with many things at his age due to their lack of brain development. But regardless your son needs a more structured setting and you need to be released from the liability of his actions. he sounds VERY dangerous.

    I hope this helps you make the decision one way or another. I know our choice was right. My son is now a joy and a delight to all of us. He has worked HARD to rebuild his relationships with all of us, and to forgive himself. He has a home of his own, and is building a career for himself. He has many ties to the community and everyone who knows him tells us what a delight he is. he knows we love him, and we now know he loves us. so the separation when he was 14 was traumatic but vital and in the end was the right thing.
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  6. Penguin

    Penguin New Member

    Thank you Suziestar. If only we had wonderful family like you have. I am gearing myself towards relinquishing parental rights but husband is struggling. I have suggested that maybe daughter and I move in with my mother but that upsets him more. I think he wants to give him another chance but I don't know if I can go through it again. It's such a lose lose situation
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I had to explain to my husband that if we kept doing what we were doing, we would keep getting the same results - violence and defiance. It didn't matter how consistent we were, how dedicated we were, if our son wouldn't put forth effort, nothing would make a difference. In my case, my husband worked almost 1 1/2 hours from home, meaning a 3 hour commute where I was home with the kids the entire time. I had to quit my job when our oldest was in elementary school because I had to go pick him up so very very often. When he got older, I stayed home because our youngest had severe sensory issues. My oldest usually chose after school to go after either my daughter or I. If he went after my daughter, I got between, which took a huge toll on me.

    We HAD to change something because the status quo wasn't going to continue with-o me ending up hurting my son to get him to stop hurting my daughter or myself. It was becoming a very very dangerous situation for all of us. I started calling around to find a program for him. I was NOT afraid to beg for help, or for any hint of a program to help. Giving up my rights legally never needed to happen, but we were maybe a week from taking our son to a Boy's Home where he could get in depth help. I found the program by making an absolute ton of phone calls asking for help. I started with our pastor and explained the problem (briefly). I asked if he knew of a program or OF ANYONE WHO MIGHT KNOW OF A PROGRAM. That last part was what got me to the next person to call and ask. I called the school counselor at both my son's jr high and at my daughter's elementary school. I even called the school resource officers at every school when I ran out of numbers. The resource officer is a police officer stationed at a jr high or high school.

    While your husband may be struggling, how hard will it be when the unthinkable happens and your son ends up in jail because someone finds out that he is violent to your daughter? I don't know what your laws are, but here in the US if you keep him at home, knowing he is regularly violent with his sister, you and/or your husband can be charged with endangering your daughter for not keeping her safe from your son. We had to deal with social services/child protection services on several occasions due to our son harming our daughter. The first time was when WE asked the pediatrician to help us report after finding my son strangling my daughter in the middle of the night. It was horrific and just terrible for every single person involved except my son. He thought it was all funny and he had a great deal of fun telling lies to the social worker. This was before we had him placed with my parents, and it did result in a lengthy hospital stay, but it was a big mess.

    You may have some luck figuring out what you, as a couple, want to do when you think of the consequences of your son's actions to his future, to your daughter's future, and to your and your husband's futures. the legal consequences can be very difficult and the long term health consequences for all of you can also be significant.

    I hope this helps in some small way. If you want a different result, you simply MUST change what you are doing. Anything else is insanity.
  8. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    What a great ending to a tough story for your family.

    I must ask though, were you ever afraid son would hurt your older parents?
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Not in this life would he harm my parents physically. Well, not my mom. My dad can hold his own after a career teaching the toughest kids 2 very rough public schools could throw at him (17 of those as a shop teacher!!). When Wiz was about 12 he threw a punch at my dad. My dad laid him out on the ground with a return punch. Really really made me angry, because I totally hate violence, but I wasn't there at the time and could not do anything about it. But it was not ever repeated by either of them. Mostly my dad would not EVER hit his grandkids, but he doesn't react well to kids being absolute brats lashing out at him with violence. He and Wiz are VERY similar, and in my opinion my dad has more Aspie traits than my son does, so they either work very well together or they clash like Titans. My dad has more perseverance by a long shot so he wins each time they clash. It worked out well.

    If Wiz had EVER lashed out at my mom it would have been something he could not forgive himself for. My father would have killed him for it also. Probably literally and not figuratively. She is the one thing my dad absolutely cannot function without, that one thing that he absolutely needs and totally values. So threats to her are not tolerated well, esp from kids being little jerks. She is also the one person that Wiz would not ever think of hitting. I have no clue why, but she is. So I never really worried about him hitting her. It crossed my mind, but more as the last sign of the end of the world rather than as a real possibility. Any time she even entered a room, Wiz would stop being violent almost instantly. It drove me crazy at times because nothing else EVER worked and she absolutely could not see that he was violent with the rest of us. Esp with Jess and I, his violence was extreme, but since my mom didn't actually see it, she could not imagine or fathom it.

    Luckily he never lashed out at my parents other than the one time when he was 12.
  10. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    I will say this and I will be tough you have to chose what is best for you and your family or what is best for the people outside your family that will have to deal with him. Yes it will not be be your family's problem but for someone it will still be a problem.
    The curses of having a conduct disorder.
  11. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    This a tough decision, Penguin. And I agree with others that this is one you will have to figure out what will be best for your family. For us, our daughter's behaviors (running away, attacking us/teachers/aides, property damage, etc.) led to her changing schools several times, then admission to a day-treatment school and following that, to a locked day-treatment school. She always found a way to get kicked out of these places that were doing so much to help her. The running away (she would even jump out of a 2nd storey window) and reckless behavior continued to a point that we could not live with (one other child at home) and I thought I had hit rock-bottom when I signed a voluntary placement order (temporary) with Child & Family Services. We just couldn't keep her, us or our house safe. We were drained staying up all day and night. There were no other options.

    She stayed in a group home setting for 19 months. We had total access to her. She had 24 hour care and all of her services like therapy, group classes, etc. She did a lot of work in that time - we and the treatment team felt that it was time for her to come home. She did and slowly went back to her old ways, escalating her behavior with each rage. The last time she physically attacked me, she ripped out a fistful of my hair. She threatened to kill me and said she had others who were ready to kill us for her. It was time to end the drama. I told my husband that if we looked into someone's house and saw the same stuff happening, we would definitely think the household was dysfunctional; yet we refused to acknowledge and act on what was wrong in our house. We had a son that didn't need to be a part of this any longer. She was 18 at the time and has not been allowed to live at home since.

    Of course, now she blames me for all of her problems because I "put her in the group home" and I have bought into the guilt trip many times. She is 25 and we are finally in the early stages of detachment.

    Yes, your son is important but nothing seems to be working. You have a responsibility to care for yourself and your family, too. Please don't forgot those important people. I know our son lost out on a lot of things - he couldn't have friends over because of daughter's unpredictability. Lots of events got 'put on hold' because there was a crisis that needed to be tended to. Actually, LIFE seemed to be put on hold. We are slowly getting ours back but its a little late.

    Also, perhaps your daughter would benefit from some resources. We sent our son for some sessions with a psychologist, so that he could vent, ask questions and generally talk about his feelings on his own without fear of upsetting us. He says it helped.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One thing that helped my daughter keep her sanity was her best friend's family. They lived a few blocks away and really reached out to help. They would allow my daughter to come over day or night, even when they were not home. They gave J her own key to their home!!! So Jess could escape when she needed to. It was a godsend. They were one of the few who didn't ostracize us because of our oldest's violence. We told them about the problem because we couldn't have their daughter spend the night - my oldest would have terrorized her. I had to explain why we couldn't reciprocate the sleepovers their daughter invited my daughter for.

    They actually thanked us for not putting their daughter in the middle. The dad even had a few talks with Wiz about how harming his sister was wrong and he would regret it later or would end up in prison or a locked hospital. When he was in a locked hospital, they would have my daughter over after school to lighten her day if I had to be at the hospital over an hour away. Later they asked me for help because their youngest got violent, and my daughter is actually the one who stopped their youngest daughter's violence. She openly told the girl how what Wiz did hurt her, and how it was a nightmare for her, and did the girl want her big sis to feel so scared and mad, or to lash back out at her? It was a real eye opener for the girl, and it got the girl to participate in the therapy that turned her around. (My J has a real gift for this type of thing!)

    Therapy also helped my daughter greatly. Just having someone to talk to other than Mommy was a big help. Both kids saw the same therapist, so the doctor was able to use what J told her to help Wiz, which was good. But even if only your other child sees a therapist, it can be a big help.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    ADad, people who work in residential treatment centers are.professionals who m have the equipment, knowledge and willingness to care for troubled kids. We dont.

    That is my solution
  14. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Sorry but from what I know from my experience with children in residential centers they have no better equipment, willingness and knowledge then you and me. Its a good chance they will kick him out in the first few months and for this child who to get there his parents had to relinquish their responsibilities life will be a small hell because children raised by the state are poorly taken care of.
    You do not have to believe my words take the words of other members whose children where kicked out of the residential treatment.
  15. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    A dad, do remember that the bulk of parents on this board are from the USA and are writing based on the experiences and information available here.

    IIRC, you are from a Baltic country, as are my family. Laws and standards of care are probably quite different there.

    For one thing, parents in the US do not have to relinquish all responsibilities for their children in order to get them into residential care.

    Most residential facilities are not run by "the state"; there are some that are run by counties within states, but many are privately run, often affiliated with hospitals, and even religious groups, though these latter can be questionable and should be researched carefully.

    There are courses and certifications that certain levels of staff at these facilities must have, and in many cases, they must also be licensed by the state or county.

    What you refer to as "the state" is what we in the US refer to as the "Federal Government".
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Adad....what GN said. It's true.
  17. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    But the OP is in Australia.
  18. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Australia, according to a longtime poster who no posts to this board, but whom I am still in contact with, does not have provisions for residential treatment of mentally ill children other than psychiatric hospitals.

    Australia has nationalized health care backed by a network of private providers whom one pays for out-of-pocket. One can purchase insurance for private medical/dental care rather than depending on the NHS.

    One's options in Australia are indeed extremely limited, especially through the NHS. What they do have, or did have (there have been a lot of changes to Australia's government and a lot of cuts) was a passable special education and and a good vocational training system, up to and including job coaching and subsidized employment. Distance education is/was also available and very good.

    That said, I would still advise this mother to not allow ANY contact with this boy. I would also advise her to contact the authorities to see if the ball can be gotten rolling on getting this boy institutionalized in a long-term psychiatric hospital where he can be helped, and if he can be made safe with others, taught to earn a living. If not, Australia, assuming this hasn't been cut, will provide a stipend and medical care for him.

    in my opinion, the mother also needs psychiatric intervention as she is grasping at the thinnest of straws trying to reassure herself that her son's behavior is in some way "normal".