Looking for suggestions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CatMat, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

    Wow.... After reading some of these posts I almost wonder if I shouldn't be somewhere else, as I dont' think my situation is to this degree..... yet!
    I have a 15 year old who I feel is heading down a road of substance abuse. I know he's tried pot and we have found it on occasion. He has also drank on occasion, but neither one do I think does he do on a regular basis. He does smoke cigarettes when ever he can get his hands on them.
    He's ADHD and struggles in school. He is not on medication any longer and when he was it didn't really help much. He's had a boat load of behavior problems, which I feel have been fueled by his relation ship with his dad and earlier years in elementary school being bullied. More so the first issue. His dad and I have been split up for 11 years now and up until about 3 years ago his life has been unstable as far as relationships go. He is now married to a very upbeat woman who has a ton to offer, however I feel the past 8 years prior to that, he was more of a freind to my son rather than a father, and often blamed us for my son's behavior issues. Or the schools for not providing our son with what he needed, instead of addressing the behavior itself as a parent often accepted it and blamed others. Now in his new marriage his wife I think has started to demand that our son accept the responsibilities for his behaviors which his dad has also jumped on board with as well, but has also started to really get on our son's case doing so to the point of verbal abuse (which is only a speculation based on what I went through being married to him for 11 years and what my son has been saying is going on)
    My son now has refused to go back to his dads for the 50/50 placement that is court ordered, and resorted to running away when we tried to force him to go. I no longer try to force it and the running away has halted. But dad and step mom are none to happy with us. I've left the ball in thier court letting them know I am willing to work with them in any other way to work out the issue, but can not kick him out to try to force it as that hasn't been effective. Dad also has denied being part of the reason our son is acting the way he is, and I've also told them until he realizes he is that the problem can't be solved....

    Although school is better this year so far (only three weeks into it) than the past few years and we have been able to address some of othe behavior issues, I am still concerned about the pot and cigarette use, and know the tables can turn back as easlily as they've turned for the better.

    I've read some of your postings and in the heat of some of our issues with him have been at our wits end not knowing what to do next with him and also knowing we can not tolerate his behaviors in our home.

    It's like an emotional roller coaster and we are on the hill heading up again..... but afraid of the down hills.

    Looking for advice or suggestions.....
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good morning and Welcome!! Members here have issues with their kids to varying degrees- and sometimes that fluctuates- but it's good to hear that your situation hasn't gotten to the extremes as some yet. I can't offer advice on the issues you post about since my son is younger and we don't have the same family situation, but there is a section of the board for Teen and Substance Abuse Issues. You might find many over there who have dealt with these problems. It does sound like it would be good to make some changes or implement some strategies now though, before things do get worse.
  3. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

    I did post in that area as well. They suggested I post in the general section to see if anyone had suggestions.
    I think the most frustrating thing is you can see things going wrong, and not knowing how to fix them sometimes.... We've tried many things and they usually either don't work or work for a while and then it reverts back to the old behaviors, and that is kind where it's starting to head again..... Trying to hold strong......
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. You may want to do a signature on your family, like I did below. That will help us, help you. Any psychiatric problems or substance abuse issues on either side of your son's family tree? Did he have a normal early development? What type of professional does he see? Ever been totally evaluated by a neuropsychologist or at least a Psychiatrist (with the MD) who ran actual tests?
    I had a teen who did drugs. Believe it or not, the drug she and her friends abused the most were ADHD stims. They would crush them in pullcrushers and snort them either alone or with things like cocaine. They have high street value. Then, in her more advanced stages, they took downers to sleep. My experience has been (and my now-clean daughter tells me this) that parents usually don't know how much their kids are doing, as far as drinking as drugs. If you are finding the pot at home, chances are good that he's doing a lot more than you think. We didn't find drugs on my daughter until she'd been using them for a few years. I know that we had no idea how deep she was in it until she was so far out there that only she could bring herself back (and she did, but it was after she'd crossed into cocaine and other fun stuff). Have you ever popped a surprise drug test on your son? I recommend it, and don' t listen to "You don't trust me" tears, like we did :) Kids who smoke cigarettes are more likely to do drugs too. We used to throw out my daughter's cigarettes. She didn't get any money either if she was going to spend it on cigarettes. Later on, she told us the kids would stand in front of gas stations and ask strangers who were older to buy them cigarettes and booze, and that they did!!! She doesn't smoke cigarettes any more either, but we were very lucky with her. I urge you to make sure, in any way you can, that your son isn't beyond pot/booze/cigarettes. And pot is none to great--it's often the first thing before bigger and better things.
    Are you convinced he only has ADHD?
    As for his father, if son doesn't want to go to see, can he be forced? I thought that at 13 they could control that decision (the kids). I went through a divorce too, and that was my understanding, but all states are different.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  5. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

    He was on ADHD medications in earlier years but didn't have great sucess with it after numerous different types that were tried. Dad also is now very against trying them again and with our son's substance use, I can't say I'd be comfortable trying them either not knowing the effects of them being mixed with something else.
    He's had an EKG done prior to going on the medications and that came back norm. He's been to numerous councelors but doesn't seem to take them seriously and plays games with them to get thier attention, etc... in 8th grade he went to an out-patient program at Rogers Memorial and seemed to act up more there than what was actually going on and used that for more of a "status" symbol in school, so in our eyes didn't take that seriously either. Now when counceling gets brought up to him he says he won't participate because he can not trust them because the councelors will tell us what he says, etc... which one did once when he told them he likes to start fires....
    He has had to do mandatory drug tests at school already last year for bringing pills to school (which after being tested turned out to be nothing) and admitting to the dean of students that he smoked pot, so they did make him do three randome tests last year which two of which he passed and one failed. The one that came back positive was for pot. They didn't find anything else.
    I actaully plan on getting him in this week for another. So yes we have been down that road. I also generally am not affected by the "tears" and the "you don't trust me" line. I tell him straight up I don't trust him and he needs to earn my trust back, etc.... I just get so tired and dragged down with the roller coaster ride he takes us on... School started out soooo good this year, but now I'm seeing all the typical signs of the past behaviors, etc.... I just wish I knew how to stop the "self destruct" he puts himself into, the defiant behavior with some teachers, etc....
    My latest tactic since grounding him doesn't usually work because if he really wants to leave, he does, is not to reward "bad" behavior. So if he does poorly in school, breaks curfew, etc.... we don't pay for extras... haircuts, shoe shopping, removed his tv in his room, etc....
    Trying to also make him understand that he makes these bad choices and he needs to accept responsibility for them.

    We also have cut back on giving him money because of him spending it on cigarettes, etc.... (he still manages to get them somehow). We still pay him for doing extras aside from regular chores but am thinking we will need to stop that as well.

    As far as family goes, we have three other siblings in the home.... One 18 year old sis (actually a neice of mine which we adopted and has been with us for 9 years) who is very motivated to achieve in school and is now in her freshman year of college, One 19 year old who is a step son to me and has his own set of issues from living with his mom, so we are trying to get him on his feet and to be independant. And a 11 year old sis who is awesome and usually the light of my life. Very outgoing, athletic and does well in school.
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm beginning to think teens should just all be locked on an island and forced to find their own way. They sure don't want our help and they have all the answers anyway.

    My daughter tried being non-compliant with therapy. I gave her a choice -- no life or actively work with a therapist and that meant no game playing. By no life, I meant no going anywhere but school, no computer access except for homework with me sitting beside her, no television, no good stuff. It took about six months of this but she did give up and go to therapy. If the therapist told me she was not participating or playing games, she went back to no life until the next session. It did help her a little, at least once she found out that the therapist would only discuss whether she participated or if there was something truly dangerous going on.

    If your son is or was into firestarting, you might want to consider getting a full neuropsychologist evaluation for him. That sounds like more than ADHD going on and may well need medications to help him.

    Again, like yours, my daughter was a runner. Tell her no or that she had to do something she didn't want to and she was out the door 30 seconds later. I actually made her take her shoes off the second she walked in the door and I put them in my room which was locked. Of course, that only worked until she stole a pair of shoes and hid them outside.

    She did not use drugs but that's about the only thing she didn't do between ages 10 and 15. I finally gave up and mortgaged my life away and sent her to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I honestly believe it saved her life. She's not perfect by any means but she is working, living on her own, making friends.

    I wish you luck on getting him on the right path. It is not easy. Some of us succeed, some of us don't. The best we can do is try our best and do what we can. Whether we like it or not, our kids have to be at least somewhat invested in wanting to change. One thing that is crucial is that all adults in his life be on the same page. Nothing works if one parent says yes while the other is saying no, especially when dealing with four parents.
  7. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

    OMG.... if you find that island.... please let me know....lol!
    We are going to persue the therapy, regardless just for our own sake and hopefully one day he will choose to participate.

    The fire starting thing was a line he gave the therapist. He isn't a pyromaniac or anything like that. That's what I meant when I said he plays games with them and doesn't take them serious.

    We continue to try different angels. Hopefully one works. I have looked into boys camps, etc... is that what you refer to as Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    An Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is a Residential Therapeutic Camp -- they are usually away from civlization (a necessity for runners). It is quite a bit more than a boys camp or a military school in what is offered. A good one will have counselors and therapists on site or on call. Much of it works on peer pressure -- you blow it, your whole group gets in trouble and, ultimately, the group forces you to toe the line. There are group meetings, gripe sessions, very set rules.

    They are, to put it mildly, expensive and it is hard to get insurance or anyone else to pay for it. I had to cash out my retirement accounts and refi my home to pay for my daughter's. I could have sent her to Harvard for 4 years for what 17 months cost me. However, she never would have made it to college -- she probably would have been a pregnant runaway by 16 if things had continued as they did. So, to me, it was worth every penny.

    If you go to the struggling teens site (there should be a link for it somewhere around here), you can get some good information on RTCs and emotional growth boarding schools.
  9. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Welcome! my difficult child is not a teen yet, he is about to turn 11. I don't have alot of advice for you regarding teens, but I wanted to let you know that you have found here a great support system in this board. They may not have all the answers, but it is good to come here and have people that can relate to exactly what you are going through and tell you what has worked for them. We have been through some really bad times with my son and I have needed to come here just to vent and get some ideas as to what to do next. When I first came here, my son was very young and I had no idea where to turn or what procedures to have in place for him at school. They helped me navigate the school system and atleast put in motion what he needed to just make it through the school day.
    *Hugs* and we are so happy you are here.
  10. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cat, I didn't see you are in Wisconsin. Hiiiiiiiiii!!! (waving)
    Hey, I meant NeuroPsycologist report. Not counselors or therapists or even a psychiatrist. NeuroPsychs are more thorough and tend to do much better diagnosing.
    We told our daughter that, since she breeched out trust, she had no privacy and we used to check her room and purse all the time. Lucky for us we did because we found a note explaining how she was going to run off with some internet guy in Colorado. We put the big kabosh on that and changed our password so she couldn't get on the computer. She isn't computer savvy. We gave her NO money when she started acting up. She went to work at Walmart at 16 and amazingly did great even high. She probably spent her own money on this stuff, but, since we also stopped buying her clothes, except from Good Will, she had to spend a lot of it on that.
    Liking to start fires can be a symptom more of bipolar than ADHD. I'd really want to check that out.
    I'm not a fan of ADHD medications for reasons I stated above--they can and often are abused by teens. My daughter's friends used to fake ADHD to get the pills.
    My daughter got cigarettes too--not sure how--other than, when somebody got paid from work, they'd ask younger adults to buy them for them and give them the money, and they didn't have trouble getting any. Booze too.
    Some drugs don't show up on drug screens. Beware of that too.
    I wish you luck, better luck than we had!
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2008
  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Nah, tinamarie lies. We're not happy you're here at all. It means you need us and no one in their right mind would wish our kids on someone else, especially not a nice stranger. But welcome and we are glad you found us. We are a good group.

    (Sorry, forgot to say all of that before.)
  13. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

    Thanks to everyone for your input :)
    Today hasn't started out good either... Ugh! Realized once I got to work that one of the difficult child's (I think that is how you refer to them....lol), took $20.00 out of my purse last night. Shame on me for leaving it in the kitchen I guess.... I have a good feeling it was the 15 year old.

    Trying to figure out how to deal with the two of them to see which it was.... but very angry right now and having a hard time thinking logically... Any suggestions?

    Has anyone else dealt with kids stealing from them? What were your course of actions????

  14. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Sadly, I think most of us whose kids are over 10 have had them steal from us. I used to sleep with my purse under my pillow. Some people have a safe where they put their valuables every night. It isn't how we should have to live but it is the way it is.

    I'm sorry you have to worry about two of them stealing from you. At least I could use some humor: "Alright, who ate my money -- one of the cats or the dog? I realy need to know so that my poor, beloved daughter only has to follow one of you around to check the poop. C'mon piggy critter, cough it up!" That usually got a giggle and an admittng that she took the money. Regardless, I did find that humor worked far better at getting the truth out than discussions, threats, tears or anything else I tried.

    It really does stink when we just can't trust our kids.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    When my son takes money out of my purse or it's lying there and he takes it without asking if he can have it (steals), it comes off his allowance. Then, the next time he asks for money for something, he doesn't get it. His allowance is earned, not given as a habit- albeit some of it is earned by doing homework nightly and behaving in school, some of it is by working at home.

    As MB said, it's sad we have to live this way.
  16. CatMat

    CatMat Stressed Out!!

    Thanks all.... I slept with- my purse in my room last night and that will be how it has to be I guess.... also told our 18 yo who has a job and is in college not to leave her purse laying around, and will warn our 11 year old. Such is life. We went through this quite a while ago but it had stopped.... so I think we just let our guards down.

    Both denied it and pointed fingers in the opposite direction....lol / Pretty much what we expected.