I *really* need some help here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterby, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    difficult child 2 is....exhausting....infuriating....and any other adjective you can think of along those lines.

    He doesn't seem to think the rules apply to him. He says what everyone wants to hear, but has no intention of following through. He uses and takes advantage of the goodness of others. You can't believe a word he says.

    He 'lost' his adderall a week and a half ago. And he mysteriously has money.

    He 'bounced' away this weekend...which means he had permission to go somewhere on Friday and was supposed to be home Friday night. He called his mom and told her he wasn't coming home; that he'd be home by noon Saturday. Saturday he tells her he'll be home "sometime tomorrow night". He does this about every other weekend. Then complains that he doesn't get to do anything even though he's busting his [butt] to do the right thing. He has a long list of reasons why he's doing this and it's all about how he's not treated fairly, that he doesn't get to do anything, blah, blah, blah. The same old tired argument over and over and over. I've told him repeatedly that he doesn't give us a chance to allow him to do things because he just takes it (i.e., 'bouncing' away).

    And an hour of school doesn't count as busting your [butt]. An hour and a half of community service doesn't count. He still has 28 hours to complete. He worked an hour and a half and then left because he got sweaty. He talks to his mother in a horrible manner. When she told him that she was making a list of house rules this weekend for all of her kids and it would include bedtimes, etc, he told her flat out that he was NOT going to have a bedtime and he was NOT going to have this or that.

    This particular bounce, however, may be the final straw. This time he involved the SW from the wrap around services. At the group meeting on Thursday, he asked the SW if he would drop him in [town] after the home meeting. Needless to say, I was floored when I found out he asked him to do that. The SW came to the meeting on Friday and said he thought he was taking difficult child 2 to an appointment; however, since he had already said yes, he would take him to [town], but he wouldn't do it again. difficult child 2 said all the right things at the meeting. And then he bounces. We know what town he's in, just not where exactly.

    When he comes home from [town], he sleeps for days. I'm pretty sure he's doing drugs while there.

    He's on probation. However, he does not currently have a PO because the probation is in the process of being transferred from another county. He should have a PO next week. He also sees the new psychiatrist next week.

    We know he's not on the right medications. However, he knows right from wrong. He just doesn't care. It's all about me, myself and I.

    When his mom told me last night that he wasn't coming home - that he'd be home by noon today (which I figured wouldn't happen), I told her "Ok. I'm done." And I felt calm and relaxed. Every other time, I'd be angry and frustated...my pain would kick up, I would toss and turn at night. I think detachment just kicked in. Self-preservation, had enough...I don't know.

    But...he's 16. What do you do with a kid that won't help himself? He's been in foster care because of running away. He ran away from foster care - more than once. They put him in a program and he ran away from there 3 times. Then they (the county) put him in a lockdown Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for dual-diagnosis. It was a step-down from JDC. He was there for 5 or 6 months. He was out for less than a week when he bounced away again, so he was on an ankle monitor for a couple months.

    I find myself thinking he's a lost cause. I asked his mom if she ever thinks that way and she said she does sometimes. She hasn't wanted to violate him because JDC certainly won't be beneficial, but what else do you do with this kid? He has no interest in helping himself. His thinking is that he's going to do what he wants to do and he'll be fine and everyone should just back off. He isn't doing school (online school), he isn't doing his community service, he's taking off all the time, he barely participates in the home meetings.

    He's only 16. I've known him for almost 10 years and I've always had a special bond with him. But, I don't know if I want to go to the home meeting next week. What's the point? He's just going to lie and say what everyone wants to hear, then turn around and do whatever he wants. I don't know how much I want to be involved. I *really* don't like being lied to and taken advantage of.

    What do you do in a situation like this? Seriously, this kid is a hard case. He does not care about anything except about what he wants to do.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I think your difficult child and mine are related. Mine is exactly like that in that he thinks rules are for everyone else....works his butt off (HA) and should be able to do what he wants....blah blah blah blah blah.

    Personally, and this is just me, I would violate him. Yes you did say he's not on the right medications but that only goes so far. He knows right from wrong but doesn't care....maybe violating his probation will have an affect. Maybe not. But....he's got to learn that rules apply to HIM too. He can't just do what he wants and not have consequences.

    He also sounds like mine in the sense that they both seem to be from the school of "learn things the hard way". If he gets his probation violated and has a consequence...that is on him and it was basically his choice to do things the hard way.

    I also completely understand about thinking he may be a lost cause. I feel the same way about my son. This past week he announced to the school that he was quitting but walked out before doing the paper work, came home, packed most of his stuff and walked out of here too. He's staying at a friend's so I'm not all that worried but I do have concerns. On the flip side though, the last few days have been wonderful. There's been no arguing, no being talked to like I'm dirt and stupid, no ME ME ME ME ME.

    Sending hugs though. It's not a fun situation but you're definately not alone.
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I think his mom should violate him, too, and we've talked about it. It's not really my call to make. I did tell him, however, if he took off in my car like he has his mom's, that I would report my car stolen - or at least unauthorized use.

    Learn things the hard way...I wonder if he's going to learn at all. He's already been in foster care (ran away), a therapeutic program (ran away), state Residential Treatment Center (RTC) ordered by court, probation and an ankle monitor. I don't know what else it would take.


    Thanks for the hugs. :)
  4. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Well, I feel better knowing that my difficult child isn't the only one doing this to his parents.
    If you read my post the other day you see pretty much the very same thing. And I too, had enought. I quit.

    He talks that way to me, not his dad. He has always done this to me. He would have me in tears within hours. Then continue to ask to go somewhere.

    I say I quit - just as you. But inside I am struggling. How do you give up on your child? But how can he just not care about anyone except himself and what he wants and he wants it now.

    I just "quit" a few days ago. He has was gone that night and the following day. Since he has been nice. Well, he's been home a day and a half and has been nice. School is a definate trigger. The WORD school will set him off. And spring break is done today and school starts tomorrow. That will be a disaster.

    Take care of yourself. That is what I am trying to do. ME time now.
    Wishing you luck.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child is younger so I haven't been in that position yet (of him bouncing) but I wanted to send supportive hugs your way.
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Heather, in my humble opinion, you're minimzing the importance of his not being on the right medications. Even when kids with bipolar disorder know right from wrong, many of them cannot control their emotions until their medications help reduce the cycling.

    From an article by Debby Rohr, a social worker and parent of a child with bipolar disorder:

    "Understand that all children (and all people) manipulate in order to get something. It's human nature but has taken on a negative connotation. It's doubtful that the human race would be able to survive without people manipulating their environment. The difference with many ill children with bipolar, is that they often do not feel in control of anything, especially their brain functioning. If a parent thinks about the lack of control that children with bipolar may feel in all areas of their lives: being told when to go to bed, when to get up, when to go to school, being told to do schoolwork and housework, having peer-activity restrictions placed on them, feeling no control over their behaviors...it's no wonder that that they will manipulate to protect themselves from their environment. Refusing to do something or acting or lashing out, is often a way for children with bipolar to feel in control."

    Before behavior modification or any other therapeutic intervention can begin, the medications need to be straightened out. It took us four years to get our son's medications worked out, and in those four years, he had great difficulty going to school, doing homework, doing chores, engaging in therapy, etc -- even though he knows what he should be doing. Clearly, the stakes are higher in your difficult child 2's case because of his dangerous behavior, but that points to an even more important reason for his mother to work on the medication piece. Nothing's going to happen until that happens.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I think smallworld hit the nail on the head. I have seen this with both husband and difficult child. When difficult child's medications are off, he does not care about his homework, or pretty much anything. When the medications are good, all I do is ask him if he has homework, and he is on it. With husband it gets bigger. Before medications, he could not keep an appointment. He would most likely miss it, or be so late they would refuse to see him. Did he care that he was putting all of those people out? Nope. It was all about him. What about drinking? In his eyes he couldn't drink too much, the rules did not apply to him. Now you would think that after 4 or 5 DUII's he would have learned, but it was not untill he was medicated that he can control his drinking. I think he was self medicating with the alcohol.

    One thing that I see as important with husband is it is important to break the cycle. His medications are not good, but they are good enough that he can make good (or better) decisions and function fairly well. husband has been tweaking medications for over a year, and we have not found the match yet, but he has been close enough to be more stable than he was in the past.

    Good luck with difficult child 2. I see a major problem with some is that they don't see anything wrong, and therefore don't want help. It is hard or impossible to get someone to get help if they don't realize it.

  8. maril

    maril New Member

    Sending hugs to you. It is so difficult to be right in the thick of everything for all involved, including difficult child, and to not see much success. The other posters have good suggestions, and maybe medication will be the first step towards him getting on the right track. Good luck to all.
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I agree with SW. And what CM said about breaking the cycle makes sense, too. You aren't doing him any favors by looking the other way. Neither is his mom. What's the point in going through the motions of rules and boundaries if no one is willing to enforce them?

    Does he drive? Then take away the keys. If he leaves without permission, report him as a runaway, or violate him if that's the right term. Right now, all he's getting is yada, yada, yada from the adults in his life. No one is backing up the talk with real, concrete consequences.

    Why would he have access to his medications to sell, as you're suspecting, especially if they are controlled substances, and especially if his behavior is so out of control? He is not a typical 16yo, and you're giving him the privileges of a typical 16yo. It's too much rope, in my opinion. medications should be administered in your presence and he should prove that he's swallowed and not cheeked them.

    If his medications aren't right, then his mom and you, or whomever is taking charge of that needs to push the psychiatrist to get them right. If you don't have that foundation in place, all the other work you're doing with him will be wasted. It'd be like trying to teach a kid to read who badly needs glasses and has none.

    I can't imagine being in your shoes, responsible for someone else's difficult child while trying to deal with your own difficult child and health issues. You are a brave and generous person for doing this.

  10. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Flutter---your difficult child 2 reminds me a lot of Jana's ex---who I love as much as I love my own. He, too, seems to be a lost cause. I just don't know how the boys (man) is going to survive. His mom and dad have also lost all hope. He has damaged himself to the point that he is now permanently disabled and can no longer do the work he is trained to do. He is living "with friends"---wherever he can get a bed for the night. Last week that resulted in him being beaten with brass knuckles to the point that he required 36 stitches in his head and mouth. He doesn't see what he's doing, but he is beyond the point of any help any of us can give. Jana has detached completely. She no longer takes his calls at all---it just hurts too bad to have to tell him no. His mom is close to that point. I still have hope that maybe he will get his act together before we have to bury him. It is so hard when you see the potential and they don't.
  11. sweetjj

    sweetjj New Member

    Wow, you almost be writing about my difficult child....I am at my wits end with him as well. He is 16 and acts the same way..its all me me me. I have posted a few times but most of the responses have been to be harder on him, dont let him get away with it..take this away, take that away..All great answers if we were dealing with a "normal" 16 yr old but if i enforce any rules he goes into a rage..Anyway, just wanted to send some hugs your way. I dont have any advise since I am stuggling as well. Take care and good luck.
  12. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    First of all, he doesn't live with me so I have no control over his access to his medications; nor to his rules and responsibilities. When he is at my house, that is different and he does have to follow my rules. Period. He also knows if he takes off in my car that I'll report it stolen. It is also not up to me to violate him; that is his mom's call. If you tell him he can't do x,y, or z, he'll just take off. He'll have a friend pick him up in the middle of the night, he'll walk, he'll call a cab (how they can pick up a minor, I don't know). The only option at that point is to violate him and his mom doesn't seem to be in that place yet. I am extremely limited on what I can do. It is incredibly frustrating for me because I would be violating him and/or reporting him as a runaway every time. Even the state couldn't control him until they put him in a lockdown facility.

    I do realize that the medications aren't right, but I do not think I'm minimizing the effect that has on his behavior. I've known this kid for 10 years.

    Not only does he take off and do whatever he wants, abuses drugs and is now apparently selling them, he starts to set up someone else to take the fall BEFORE he does this. It is planned, not impulsive. He was working on having his younger brother take the fall for his missing adderall 2 weeks before they 'disappeared'. That is not impulsive. That is planned. And all the while he was saying what everyone wanted to hear knowing full well what he was intending to do.

    I don't know what else to do with this kid. And to be honest, being in the position where I can't do anything and am just expected to be part of his support system....I don't think I can do that anymore. Not until everyone is on the same page because I'm left feeling frustrated and helpless and can't really do anything until after he decides to come home. And then it's just lies, lies and more lies.

    He won't take my calls right now because he knows I'm 'annoyed' (his word and a huge understatement) with him. His mom has just gone and retrieved him. I'm sure he's high.

    I can't just sit around and worry and wring my hands and then be expected to be there to support him. I just can't do that. Maybe that makes me a bad person and I'm sure I'll carry a lot of guilt about it. But being in a position like this...I just can't do it.

    I apologize if I sound angry, but I am. I'm angry and frustrated and feel like I don't have any control of this situation myself.

    Thank you for the support and thoughts. I continue to carry hope that medication changes will help. But, I'm also realistic. This kid flat out does not care.
  13. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Heather, has he ever been in a dual-diagnosis treatment facility, where both the mental illness and drug abuse issues are addressed? Would that be a possibility?
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    SW, that's where the state (or county, whoever) put him for 5 or 6 months...the lockdown facility that was a step down from JDC. It was dual-diagnosis and that's where he got his current medications - which we know are wrong. As far as another future possibility...I don't know.

    And the whole issue with children's service having legal custody (even though he was with his mom) and not doing anything as for as mental health treatment, outpatient rehab, school...left them hanging for almost 3 months. And now the issue with custody between mom and dad. County mental health wouldn't even see him for intake until dad signed the paperwork and it took him about 3 weeks to do. I think new custody papers have been drawn up, but getting dad to sign them...who knows how long he'll drag that out. Then if he refuses to sign them and it goes to court....

    It's just a mess.
  15. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Heather, don't apologize for being angry. You have every right to be angry. I was not trying to minimize anything you wrote, and I think it is great that you are helping with this poor kid. Sometimes I can see a lot of similarities between the older difficult children and my husband when he was unmedicated and self medicating in his "finest". Those are days I hope to never repeat.

    You are probably right. He does not care. The problem is that it is hard to get someone to invest in their own treatment if they do not care. No one can make another care about something. It just does not work.

    I don't think you are a bad person at all for not wanting to sit around and wait for him to pull his head out of his a**. I would call that detachment, and it is hard but necessary. You are doing what you need to do in order to maintain your own sanity and to be there for your kids. That is respectable, and responsible, and you deserve to be applauded for that.

    I don't think anyone has any control over this situation, except an unstable mentally ill person. That sure doesn't sound like much control to me.

    Take a breath, and vent here if you need to. You are amazing for doing as much as you have, but it may be time to step back.
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    ((hugs)) Heather

    It's doubly frustrating when they aren't your own kid and you can't do what needs to be done. Instead, you're left attempting to guide from the sidelines.

    His medications are a huge issue, but if he's not going to take them (and it sounds like he won't) it's not going to do him any good. Somehow Mom has got to realize that letting him do as he pleases because she doesn't want to turn him in is harming him far worse than JDC is......plus it's sending him all the wrong messages.

    At this point I'd say some "natural conscequences" are going to convince him far more than anything else.

    Hurts to watch someone you care about out of control and there isn't much you can do about it.

  17. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    You know...when he would stay here for several days in a row, he would take my car. I've been sleeping a lot and he would come and ask me, but he could ask me if he could rob a bank when I'm asleep and I'd say yes.

    He didn't go to [town]...he'd say he was going to a meeting or whatever. But, I really don't know what he was doing.

    I feel like I have no control, but the fact is, even if he was here and I could do something...it wouldn't be any different. The medications would be locked up and watched. He'd be reported. But, it wouldn't change his behavior.

    He thinks he has everyone snowed.
  18. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I understand his mom not wanting to violate him at this point. There are some underlying issues that complicate this. Namely, that custody hasn't been straightened out and she's afraid he would be sent back to his dad's which would be a complete and total disaster.

    But, at the same time...these are his choices. There has to be consequences.
  19. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    You are between a rock and a hard place -- I don't envy you. How can you support him effectively if his mom won't hold him to the same standards? That's just crazy. There's only so much you can do. Does his mom understand how much she's undermining his recovery?

    Ugh. You have every right to be angry and exasperated.
  20. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I think his mom doesn't know what to do. It's really hard to call the police on your child and I don't think she's to that point yet.

    She has asked me a couple times how I'm able to detach the way that I do. It's a really hard concept for her.

    She's not a bad parent. She is just struggling with what to do with this kid.

    It's frustrating when we have different ideas on how it should be handled. But, I'm not going to criticize her as a parent. We all have to get their in our own time.

    She has a chronic illness and has been really sick. She's had children's services buying whatever dad said hook, line and sinker until last week when they finally saw his true colors, so she's had that to contend with. It's hard to feel like you're every move is being scrutinized and the threat of your child being taken away and put with his abusive father hanging over your head.