New to Forum. Overwhelmed!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Stacy G., Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Stacy G.

    Stacy G. New Member

    Hi. I am so glad I found this forum! I want to apoligize in advance if this turns into a book.
    Ok. A little background... I have 3 kids; 21, 15, 13. (trying to remember the abbreviations here). Last week I would have said that my problem is with my 15yr. old, it seems now I have 2 problems.

    My oldest son (21) has always been a great kid, never given me a bit of trouble, always did well in school. He has been living on his own for a couple of months, working & going to college. We just found out yesterday that his girlfriend is pregnant, she JUST turned 18!

    They have broken up on & off for the past couple of months & seem to have no plans on being together. girlfriend seems to be quite happy about being pg, my son is freaked out. This situation is very new so I'm not sure how we are going to deal with it, I do know that this is NOT what I wanted for my child.

    Onto my biggest problem, my 15 year old. He has always been, I don't want to say difficult but don't really know how else to explain it. I have always had to be on my toes when it comes to him. The last couple of years have been the worst, getting suspended from school, always in trouble. He was expelled from school last year & put in an alternative school which he also got kicked out of the last 2 weeks of school. At the beginning of the school year this year he got to go back to his regular school. Until about a month ago anyway, he got expelled again. So, yep, he is back at the alternative school & I pray every day that he doesn't get in trouble there.

    So, at the beginning of January we found a program that is given by our county juvenile department to help troubled teens. It's mostly for kids that are on probation & it's part of their sentence but other's can volunteer to be in it, we volunteered. 2 nights a week, 12 week course, the entire family goes, they have separate classes for the kids & the parents.

    We signed up & attended every class. The life coaches at the classes do try to help & I believe are very sincere in what they do, unfortunately I don't see that they helped us much. Well, I take that back, they did help us in that I had them give our difficult child a drug test in which he failed, tested positive for pot.

    When he failed that test my heart just broke. They had the police come in & talk to him & thought that scaring him would work. They put handcuffs & feetcuffs on him & as far as he knew they were taking him to juvenile. He was crying & it was killing me but I held strong & went along with their plan hoping it would get through to my son. At the end of the night they let difficult child go & told him that he had to straighten up or he would go to juvenile jail (sorry can't remember name). He would get another drug test & he BETTER pass it.

    Well, they gave him his follow up last week, and he failed it! I was (am) furious & hurt. husband & I talked to the main life coach & asked her what we should do, she suggested that we file unruly charges on him & said if after that he failed another drug test that he would be put in juvenile & that maybe that would get through to him.

    Not knowing what else to do, we filed. I did not think I was going to be able to sign those papers through all my tears, it KILLED me to do that. But honestly, I don't know what else to do. I cannot keep letting him get away with smoking pot because I truly believe it will turn into worse things that will end up killing him. My family has a history of drug/alcohol abuse & it ended up ending the life of my father, sister & nephew & put 2 of my brothers in prison. And my son KNOWS this, I have talked to all of my kids ever since they could understand about the dangers of drugs & they know first hand how it destroys people. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I have never done drugs because I KNEW!

    Right now I am having a VERY hard time dealing with everything. Dealing with my son expecting a baby, dealing with my other son's school/drug troubles & basically dealing with the fact that apparently I am a failure as a parent. I thought I was going to do a better job than my parents because I have always been there for my kids & have devoted my life to taking care of them & listening to them. I guess I was wrong.

    If you have read to this point I thank you & forgive me if this doesn't make much sense. I just don't know what else to do & am scared to death that if my son does end up going to juvenile & bad things happen to him that he will never forgive me for putting him in there in the first place.

  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Hi Stacy and welcome. I'm just about to run out the door so this will have to be short, others will be along shortly. I wanted to stress to you that you will receive a ton of support here and that you are no longer alone. We'll help you through this. {{{Hugs}}}
  3. oceans

    oceans New Member

    I am sorry that things have been so difficult. Has your 15 yo ever been evaluated by a psychiatrist? Perhaps you could get him some help through that route instead of the other. If he has a psychological disorder, he could be self-medicating with the pot. I might want to find help through the direction of a pychiatrist and psychologist rather than placing him in the system. He might never get the help he needs in the system, especially if what he really needs is psychological help.
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I am sorry you are so overwhelmed. You need to slow down, look at the problems, and tackle what is most important to you. For each of us, depending on our own experiences, that is different. Your oldest is 21. He got his girlfriend pregnant---you can do nothing about that. It's time to detach and let things take their course with that. Your 15 year old needs your intervention now. I am one to tell you that pot smoking can lead to other things. My son is a lying, manipulative, thieving drug addict--and it all started with a "little" pot. I would concentrate on gettting him some help---look at other agencies in your community---use the justice system as a last resort. I hope that things get better soon.
  5. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Hi Welcome,

    I agree with Katmom. Although it's upsetting, your older son is an adult and the problem isn't life threatening. Your other son needs your attention now to stop something before it gets worse. Alot of us here use the concept of "baskets" in dealing with how to prioritize things. "Needs attention right now - endangerment to life or property" Basket, "Needs attention but but urgent, but also don't ignore" Basket, and then the "Not important enough to start a fight, so ignore" Basket. I think you get the idea. Hope this helps.
  6. Stacy G.

    Stacy G. New Member

    Thank y'all for the replies. Adam has not ever seen a psychiatrist. We do have an appointment for him to have a drug / alcohol assessment next week. I'm hoping that will help us in knowing what we are dealing with, if not I will look into a psychiatrist.

    I know I do have to accept the pregnancy situation with my oldest, I guess it would help if he actually accepted it & didn't see it as being a joke. Both he & the girlfriend see it this way. Both of them were talking yesterday about when they start dating other people! Uh, NO! That should be the last thing on their minds (& believe me, I told them so!)!

    I think the hardest part of this is having people tell me that I have done what I could & that Adam will have to learn on his own. I cannot accept that! He is only 15, if he was older then maybe yeah but at this point I feel it is my job to help him & rectify the situation.

    husband is really trying to help but he seems to be able to detach himself better than I can. His thoughts are that difficult child is going to do what he's going to do & that we cannot keep him locked up until he's 18. Why not?

    There is much more that Adam has done, one being taking a bunch of over the counter cold tablets. The kid seems to be on a self destruction road.

    Anyway, I'm sure y'all will get sick of hearing from me but I really do appreciate the support from the bottom of my heart.

  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Stacy, I'd start calling adolescent psychiatrists first thing Monday morning. Any kid who is self-medicating with pot and possibly attempted suicide with cold tablets sounds very depressed and in need of medical help pronto. He's 15 -- you have 3 years left to make a difference in his life. In your shoes, I wouldn't accept that he's going to do what he's going to do. He will self-destruct if you don't put forth the effort now.
  8. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    & that we cannot keep him locked up until he's 18.

    I agree why not, we're responsible for them so why not?

    The kid seems to be on a self destruction road.

    My kid too so glad i am not alone (reference my post "leaving on a Jet Plane") But my kid does not want a girlfriend, they're too much work he says. School is to much work too and a job would be too. Life is too much work. 18 will be a rude awakening.
  9. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    apparently I am a failure as a parent. I thought I was going to do a better job than my parents because I have always been there for my kids & have devoted my life to taking care of them & listening to them. I guess I was wrong.

    sweetie a lot of us can relate to how you feel, believe me. But some kids are going to do what theyw ant no matter what.
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Many times drugs and alcohol are used to mask the pain a person is feeling when things are out of control in their head. I believe an ADHD or BiPolar (BP) person would tend to become an addict because they use drugs to numb themselves to their hard lives. You have said you have a history of it in your family - I am willing to bet there is a mental health issue running reampant that nobody has been diagnosed with because of the focus being on the drug or alcohol problem.

    He could have depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc.

    Tell us a bit about what he did in school. Was he a good student - ever? What did he get in trouble for?
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Just dropped by to welcome you to the board. You've been given a great deal of good information & advice.

    Again welcome....take it a day at a time.
  12. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    You have been given some great advice. I just want to say that (Repeat after me!)............................................
    I AM NOT A FAILURE AS A PARENT!!!!!!!And that gos for you too. We all have to remember that we do not have the power to change another human to include our children. Our task as a parent would be to provide all of the necessary tools needed to turn things around if we see that our difficult children are going down the wrong path. Its a matter of them choosing to use those tools in a positive way to make a difference within themselves. All parents want their children to succeed and become a productive citizen in our society and yes we parents teach them by providing security, love, respect, guidelines. Sure we at times feel responsible for the bad choices that our difficult children make. But geeze ladies were you sitting there smoking pot or doing drugs with the children that you have raised or the ones that are still in the nest? No!! Now if you were doing that then I could understand why you would feel like a failure as a parent. Oh and I also agree with Katmom, Your oldest is old enough to deal with what he has created, You are in no way responsible for his creation now or his creations in the future. Step back and take a deep breath and know that you can provide all of the tools necessary to aid in your teens behavior, Its just a matter of him deciding that he needs to do something different for himself. Oh and one more thing... I want to welcome you to the board Stacy G. You will get the needed support from parents that have been there done that, Everybody here is very caring and have no problem sharing their experiences or giving their input. This site is just amazing and very helpful.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi Stacey, welcome. You've had some good advice so far.

    I agree that your oldest son is not the main concern right now, but I have something on that topic.
    He and girlfriend made a baby together. It's possible that the on again-off again relationship may have been her turmoil over getting pregnant. Or it could have been what triggered her to get pregnant - "If I'm going to lose him anyway, at least I'll always have something of his with me" at a subconscious level. But whatever the reason - the pregnancy is a fact. And, as Judge Judy frequently says, "You two made a baby together. That means that for the next twenty years at least, you are going to have to get along and make decisions together regarding the welfare and upkeep of this child. You are stuck with each other for that long because you have responsibilities. Grow up!"

    Your fifteen year old - I agree, huge problem. He knew there were bad consequences for failing the next drug test, he knew it was coming up, yet he still failed it. So, either he's an impulsive user, or he's a desperate user - or both. Either way, there are serious concerns. Pot itself is not physically addictive. So WHY would he be a desperate user, unless there was some other desperate psychological need in him? Which brings us back to impulsivity and a need to escape his responsibilities. Why?
    Either way, the needle points to a need to get a psychiatrist involved. This is independent of drug and alcohol counselling. Besides, it often takes a while to get an appointment, so if you begin trying to organise it now, you will save time. You can always cancel the psychiatrist appointment if the drug and alcohol people give you all the answers you need. But I don't think they will have all the answers in this case.
    This is beyond the need for punitive involvement. Clearly, deterrent factors didn't work here. All you would get from a custodial sentence is a kid a few years older with a lot more rat cunning about how to get and hide drugs. And any underlying psychiatric or neurological condition still untreated.

    I would be looking to the group he mixes with. Switch him to home schooling and be strict with it. Do not let him out of the house except handcuffed (or as close to it as you can get legally) to a parent. basically, you need to know who he sees, who he talks to and above all, who is supplying him. Where he gets the money is a close second. Lock up your valuables. Take regular inventory. Block his access to money except for a meagre allowance doled out and always accounted for. He wants to buy new sneakers? Give him exact change and make him show you the receipt.
    And if he objects, make it clear that he has violated trust and will need to earn it back. This is the natural consequence of what he has done. He does not at the moment have the self control to stay clean, so you are going to be his self control until he can show he can do it for himself. This is not punishment, it's consequence and your desperate attempt to save his life. If he does not value that life, this is yet one more reason for him to have a psychiatrist to explain it to.

    It is possible that some of what I suggest is not legal in your country. I would recommend trying to find a way in which it IS legal. If he were committed to a juvenile institution, his freedom would be curtailed in a similar way, so what is the difference? One BIG difference is that you have much more invested in success with him than staff at a juvenile institution.

    And in the midst of all this, do not forget to spend quality time with your youngest child. 13 is a very vulnerable age and your family is ini the midst of a number of crises. You want to keep those crises to a minimum. In two years' time this youngest child will be 15 and I predict the fallout from what is happening right now will still be impacting your lives for a number of years to come. You don't need any more grief that you already have. Now is a time to prevent things getting even worse.

    Meantime, we are here. Feel free to dump on us any time.

  14. Loris

    Loris New Member

    By no means are you a failure as a parent. I would get him an evaluation to see if he has an illness you aren't aware of. This stuff is very hereditary in families. Start with that if you can. It is sad but too often the Juvenile Justice System won't give him mental health help. In my area, that is. I hope you can get an answer soon, I know how hard this is.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Stacy,

    I echo what everyone here has said.

    by the way, are your oldest and his girlfriend thinking about dating others because she may place the child for adoption? Otherwise, she has no clue how time consuming, emotionally consuming, and expensive it is to raise a child. They need to take this seriously. Plus, your son is liable for child support for the rest of his life if he is listed on the b certif as the father. Someone needs to read him the riot act.
    All you can do is inform him, then let go. Don't give them financial assistance. They haven't asked yet but I suspect it will happen down the line. Not to mention asking you to babysit! However, since they are both of legal age, you have no personal legal obligation. Small blessings.

    So sorry about your 15-yr-old, and that the scare tactics didn't last more than one night. (sigh.) Again, you've gotten some good advice here.

    What's going on with-the 13-yr-old? Any feedback? Reaction? Don't ignore him or her (sorry, no mention in your note... couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl). But the "good" ones tend to be ignored. They need as much love and attention as the others. I know it's hard and you've got a lot on your plate.

    You are not alone. This is a great community.
  16. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I agree that a psychiatrist is more likely to be able to help your difficult child then the justice system and I hope you can find that help. You are a great mom, you are here looking for help for your kids. I hope you can find a good psychiatrist, and you have already found the support of this board.
  17. Stacy G.

    Stacy G. New Member

    Wow! I feel like i should be paying you guys.

    I will make appointment on Monday for Adam to see a psychiatrist.

    To answer a few questions y'all had. Adam is a very smart kid, since he was in 5th grade he has tested at the college level on the state tests they take every year. Does he make good grades now? No! And he is more than capable but also more than lazy so I guess the two don't mix.

    As far as some of the trouble he gets into.
    Talking in class
    Stealing soda in the lunchroom
    Throwing a notebook across the hall while walking to class which hit a teacher on the ankle, it was intended to get his friends' attention.
    Putting a paint brush in a gallon of soap which ruined the soap.
    Got banned from the local bowling ally for throwing rocks on the putting course.
    Smoking cigs.
    Smoking pot.
    He is constantly tearing stuff up in the house; shooting a hole in the window with a BB gun (took it away), big holes in the walls, breaks many household objects. Of course all of those are accidents.
    Skipping school.
    Getting suspended (many times) & us not knowing because he deleted the message on the answering machine before we heard it.
    Argues with his sister (13) CONSTANTLY!!!

    There's much more I'm sure, but I'm tired just reading back over it.

    As far as my youngest, bless her heart, she's worried about her mom. I do spend time with her & talk to her about things. She needs this time to be a kid, not worry about the trouble her brothers are getting into. Thankfully we have a pretty close relationship & she comes to me with her problems. I am working extra hard to ensure that she knows that she is loved & appreciated through all this.

    Again, thank y'all. I will be reading this board on a regular basis now that I found it & will keep y'all updated.

  18. kris

    kris New Member

    hi, stacy. first things first....take some deep breaths. yes, just like the cleansing breaths you learned way back when.

    nope, you're not a bad mom. as a parent we can only do the best we can with-the tools we have at the moment. you have, i'm sure, done exactly that. some things are just out of our control ~~~ much as we hate to admit that.

    i agree with-the others that a complete psychiatric evaluation (neuopsych evaluation) needs to be done on your son. is there any history of depression, bipolar, etc. in your family? it seems likely since you say there is a strong alcohol/drug abuse history. more often than not substance abuse is a result of these types of disorders.

    before you call to make an appointment with-a adolescent psychiatrist (or psychiatrist as we call them) check with-your insurance company to find out who is on their providers list. it will save you time in the long run. also do not be surprised if there is what seems like an endless time before he can be seen. a wait of two or three months is not uncommon. don't panic. take first available appointment & request that you be placed on the cancellation list. then call at least twice a week & ask if they've had a cancellation. yes, it sounds like i'm telling you to be pesty....i am lol. the greasy wheel gets the oil as they say.

    while you await the appointment i strongly suggest you get a Parent Report done: this will help you organize not only your thoughts but provide the docs with-a clear chronological list of all the issues. it will help you be organized for the intake process too.

    you might want to discuss with-the life coach the idea of rehab rather than a possible stint in juvie. just a thought.

    you might consider searching his room thoroughly to see what else you find since he's already smoking pot & has abused cold medications.

    try not to be so hard on yourself. it's tough i know because moms are built for guilt where our kids are concerned.

  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Last year my 14 year old took a handful of advil, began going to bonfires and drinking (some mixed with numerous piills...pharm parties) and snorted an adderall while swallowing another after drinking tequila. This all took place over about a 8 month period until we filed unruly charges on her and she did end up spending a weekend in juvenile detention.

    It was very hard for us to sign those papers too but we knew in our heart that if this didn't work she would be living on the street at some point and probably be in jail when she was 18.

    I don't have all the answers, all I know is what worked for us. I was terrified of what the outcome would be.

    I applaud you for stepping in at this time to try and get help for your son. This is the age to do it.

    If you have any questions I will be happy to talk to you.

  20. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The home destruction sounds like my difficult child. She ruined SOOOO many of my things. Oh and it was NEVER her that did it (according to her!)

    Anyway, I am glad you are having difficult child see a psychiatrist.