Is he serious?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    The last few talks and visits with difficult child have gone like this:

    difficult child told me he felt like I had turned on him and didn't want him and that's why he made no effort after getting out of Department of Juvenile Justice and coming home. I bit that at first then went off on him, reminding him that he is the one that turned on me- the kid stole from me and pulled a knife on me and was sneaking around behind my back and lieing to me.

    I explained to difficult child that we might have to go to transitional housing for a while- which is similar to a group home but for mother's and kids both. I did say that this situation wasn't ALL his fault, but his continuous getting into legal trouble contributed to it. He told me he'd run away if this happened- he's not going to live in a group home of any sort. He has places he can go and he thinks he can make it on his own. (He's 15yo)

    I told him that would be just great- contribute to me having to go thru every single resource I have to the point that I have to live in a shelter, then run away and leave me sitting on a curb. He said "no, you take care of yourself and do what you need to do- I just don't want to contribute to the problems anymore, I can make it on my own".

    Then, the last conversation, he went off about me blaming him for all this. I told him that it wasn't all his fault (again) but he had destroyed brand new stuff in the house, etc. He said "how was I supposed to know all this could happen". I said "because, difficult child, I sat right there and told you in front of therapist, 18 mos ago, that if you didn't get up and go to school so I could go to work, I would lose my job and that means losing the house". He actually responded "how was I supposed to know what losing your job meant".

    Are you kidding? Is there any way that a boy almost 14yo at that time and of average intelliegence, albeit never having experienced real financial difficulty in the household, didn't get that this was important?

    So he got everyone convinced that I was just being neurotic about worrying too much about a job, the house, finances, and him getting into trouble. And everyone bought it. Now the PO says difficult child is just manipulating and lieing to everyone. Well, from my standpoint, if these nitwits hadn't fallen for every BS line from my family and difficult child before, maybe he wouldn't have become convinced he could get by with this. Whatever.

    I left things with difficult child, the last time I talked to him, that the only way we can pull OURSELVES out of this is to be on the same team and pull together and each do our part. He said that's what he wanted but he had read some letters I'd sent to the court and felt that I didn't care if he was home or not anymore. He completely fails to acknowledge (or understand??) that those letters saying if I am the cause of the problem, then send difficult child somewhere else as long as it's safe and appropriate are a result of everyone blaming me instead of him taking responsibility and also because I really do want what is in his best interest. They in NO way mean that I don't love him or want him or that I am no longer interested in being in his life.

    I don't know how to deal with this kid. There are too many hands in the pot with the PO and all. I can only hope and pray that the VA therapist "gets it" and can help me and give us some useful family therapy that doesn't trigger difficult child into violence again.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The PO is right. He's being manipulative and look what it's getting him - you're angry and hurt, trying to convince him you do care and are still prepared to make huge sacrifices just for him, just to show you love him to the ends of the earth and the last cent in your bank account. At which point you won't have anything left for him but the reproach he sees in your eyes. That hurts so he will then run away so he doesn't have to look at what he has done.

    You are allowed to love your son. But you are also allowed to say, "I love you, but you have burned your bridges. I have done my best but you had your chances over and over, you WERE told, very firmly, and you went off and did what you wanted anyway. Well that was it. You have lost your chances NOT because I don't want to help you, but because I have no more resources for you. If you come home, I need to watch you and I can;t do that and still keep my job. I didn't ask you to stab me, I didn't ask you to steal, to break stuff. YOU CHOSE to do those things. As a result of YOUR choices, you ended up in here and I lost my job, and the house. What money I had, I spent on your defences and on repairing the damage. But it can never be enough. You say you have places to go, people you could stay with, you can look after yourself - if you could do that, you wouldn't be where you are now. You have ended up here because you cannot look after yourself. You proved that very well. And the only one who doesn't know that is you. But clearly, we can't tell you. You will have to work this out for yourself."

    He needs to know what his choices are, spelled out simply. He needs to know the consequences of each choice, again spelled out simply. And there has to be follow-through.

    "You can get a job, or go back to school, or both. If you do this, you will have money to pay y our way and you will have self-respect as well as a future. Or you can choose to 'live free' and go here or there according to what you want. If you do that you will run out of decent people prepared to help you, and end up with people whose only use for you will be what they can exploit out of you. You go that way ad you end up back inside."

    He needs to know that group home has to be it, or he stays inside. Your offer to go there with him - very generous. And he threw it right back at you. So forget it. Make it clear - you made a generous offer, and he clearly didn't value it.

    Until he does value your help and your input into his life, then back away. Because until he has to really do this on his own, he will continue to fail. He's been rescued or allowed to get away with stuff for too long.

    As you said - the system went down the wrong track with him for too long. That is so frustrating. But don't you make the same mistake now, especially now the PO gets it.

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    True- and I agree 100%. But the problem is that this leads to difficult child being turned over to DSS and that means my bro, which is not in difficult child's best interest for a lot of reasons- he will cover for difficult child, he has no clue of how to raise any minor and yes, I seriously think difficult child would end up molested by someone. I know it's easy to think this probably wouldn't happen to a teen who's 15, but it happened to me at 15. The more the kid thinks they have all the answers, the more vunerable they actually are. So that is my predicament. If I tell the courts I'm scared of difficult child or that I can't control him at all or that he needs to learn that he has reached his limit with me, a GAL gets appointed, DSS gets called in, and DSS has no choice but to give custody to my bro if difficult child gets turned over to them. It has been this way for a few years and this is how difficult child has found his way to manipulate us all.

    So what should I do? I can't change the funding and policy issues. I surely can't get my family to see or care that they have done damage to difficult child's chances of turning things around. All I know to do is to pursue this therapy with the VA because they understood dysfunctional families and such so much when the military gave me therapy. I can't see medications solving this. If anyone has any other ideas, please throw them out!!
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    K - It all comes down to how much more of "you" that you are going to sacrifice to difficult child. You have bent over backwards to help this child -- at the cost of your job, your home, your credit, your sanity and risking your freedom. It has not helped. He is no better off than he was 2 years ago. And your life is in shambles. You are an intelligent, capable woman and you will recover from this, but can you recover if difficult child keeps dragging you down?

    If it looked like difficult child was ready to grab a lifeline, then it may be worth it. But he has been very clear that he is not interested in doing the work he needs to do and taking responsibility for his actions. It is very unusual that DSS wants to place your son out of state. They are mandated to work toward reunification and (at least in our state) you are legally entitled to weekly viists with your child-in-foster-care. How can they facilitate that if he is with your brother? When you change jurisdictions, do you also change to a different DSS-office's coverage area? Perhaps research the surrounding states and see which one has the best version of DSS for your needs and move there.
  5. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree with the others. You have to save yourself at this point. I can't tell you how sorry I am for everything you have had to go through -- are still going through.
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In fact, you have to save yourself. There is nothing you can do for difficult child any more. He has made his choices and will pay the consequences. He will learn everything the hard way. Probably all his life. Do you want to be in the middle of that forever?
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I agree with the others, here...

    You are drowning...and you cannot save someone else while you, yourself, are drowning. Get yourself taken care of first...then, if difficult child is willing, interested, and cooperative - throw him a life-line.

    Take care of yourself!
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm not sure how to go about that without him being turned over to DSS- I feel kind of like JJJ in that respect- if I don't hang in there, difficult child gets thrown to the very wolves and in a situation that can only make things worse all the way around. Legally, it feels like an all or nothing situation as far as me sticking by difficult child. Finding an appropriate way to keep him out of dss as long as they are saying he'd go straight to my bro, without him sinking me further will definitely be one of the bigger topics I discuss with my new therapist.
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    When is he scheduled to be released? When does he turn 16?
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    As the other ladies have said, you need to save yourself. There's only so much you can do for difficult child...he needs to figure out where his responsibility lies in this. Many, many hugs.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He won't be 16 for another 6 mos. He won't qualify to be emancipated because I had custody of him and he lived with me for the better portion of this year- unless he gets committed back to Department of Juvenile Justice (state) before August is over, then it's a "maybe". Still, he would have no place to go but I would let him live with me if he was emancipated because I could then really enforce things- he would know that the court can't hold me legally and financially responsible for his illegal activity. I wouldn't have to go to court and all those other things when he gets into trouble, thus, I might actually be able to keep a job.

    He gets released in 2 1/2 weeks.
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    He has no chance of being emancipated. It is very difficult for any teen to be emancipated and nearly impossible for one with criminal issues.

    I was thinking of Job Corps. Around here, at 16 -- if you get accepted -- they provide lodging, job training and GED tutoring. It would give him a home and a focus.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    True, KTMom. I hold the juvenile court system partially responsible for difficult child not getting the point though- these kids see the people blame the parents and the punishments cause more problems for the parents than the kids so it's just too easy for these kids not to take responsibility. They wonder why the parents can't make the kids mind and stay under control- because they tie the parents hands and try to control the parents instead of backing them up. They want control of the household, then take no adequate action when things start going awry.

    Not that difficult child and I both couldn't have made better decisions along the way, but I still blame the previous PO an awful lot. Any PO who spends time telling a parent that they should let their 13yo difficult child play M rated games, but can't return phone calls to a psychiatric hospital or take ANY action when learning that a kid has been in a psychiatric hospital 5 times in 2 mos for self-harming and becoming aggressive at home, has had 9 medication changes in 3 mos, and is cutting himself, then recommends that the kid be turned over to state Department of Juvenile Justice instead of going to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) as their own psychiatric hospital's psychiatrist recommended, carries some responsibility in all this, in my humble opinion. Unfortunately though, we can't hold them accountable.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Job Corps might be worth exploring- I've heard good and bad about it but I'll see where difficult child is in his "journey" when he turns 16- it might still be the better course for him. It would certainly be better than a life of incarceration.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have checked into the DSS angle a bit and I really doubt they would actually send him out of state at his age. Like JJJ said, they have to first work for reunification as the goal first and foremost at least for the first year. At that time he would be almost 17. They would just end up placing him in a DSS run group home in my experience.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That might have been what they would have done if difficult child had this hx and was at this age a couple of years ago, but due to funding problems and lack of group home availability and foster parents, our law/policy changed a year or so ago, according to dss lady who was called in to review family stuff again right before difficult child was sent to Department of Juvenile Justice. She said they are now required, no options, to send any kid coming into their system to a family member if they can find one to take the kid unless the person is on the list of sexual offenders. She stressed this to me and also told the judge this. I reminded her of what my bro had done in past and she of course, knows he lives out of state. She said it did not matter, they have no choice.

    It would be considered a foster care placement with a family member out of state. They would still be technically working toward reunification for one year. Then there would be a permanent custody/parental rights hearing.

    I'm a little less antsy knowing there's a potential job interview this week, a slight chance for getting unemployment if I don't get this job, and maybe getting my name on the waiting list for VA's re-employment program (with job working there) this week. Even if that's the best that this week brings, it at least shows that remaining unemployed is temporary.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think k is right. Think about how many adult women who are physically fit, even have self defense training, are raped or molested every year. Many of those women know how to stay out of risky situations. They are still assaulted and many do not survive.

    K's difficult child is a teen who knows that he knows everything and can control everything. Typical teen thinking. How easy would it be for an adult male who is his legal guardian to come into his room in the night and to assault him? Or for that adult, who is KNOWN to use drugs and alcohol, and who has already said that there is nothing wrong with a teen using them, to get difficult child drunk or stoned and then to abuse him?

    As much as we say that difficult child is street smart, that he is big enough or strong enough or smart enough to fend off an attacker, the reality is that he isn't any of those things. This child does NOT see the long term consequences of his actions, like his mother losing the house and her job because he kept getting into trouble and she had to stop working to supervise him. It is a pretty simple equation, one that is common sense more than anything else. But until now difficult child didn't believe it would really happen.

    Chances are that if the uncle assaulted difficult child, no one would know about it for a LONG time. IF he reported it he would be called a liar and his juvenile record would be used against it. In all likelihood the uncle would get boat loads of sympathy and pats on the back for "helping" the "liar" even after he was accused. Talk about having your cake and eating it too! It would be a perfect set-up for the uncle. Males so rarely report sexual assault, esp in their teens and esp if the abuser is male. He would most certainly get further into drugs to escape what was happening to him.

    Having stopped to think about it that way, I agree with K. Under no circumstances would I do ANYTHING that would result in my child going to that man, that situation. Wouldn't you, regardless of what your child had done? Would sending the kid into that situation be justified by anything he did to you?

    I am sorry I did not think this through before I started making suggestions to K. If we heard of a parent who sent a child to live with a known abuser (esp one who had abused the parent), what would we say to them? We would likely tell them not to, that the abuser could not be trusted no matter what they said, and that there MUST be a better option. Wouldn't we?
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you! That is EXACTLY what I begged to the court 18 months ago. Unfortunately, those court people who still had no children or none over the age of 3 and had never been molested never got this- they gave me the label of being overly anxious, neurotic, paranoid. There is a big difference between having PTSD and being neurotic and paranoid.