Rant warning: Just tell him to go for a walk the therapist says

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by rlsnights, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Just got back from difficult child 2's therapist appointment. I am ticked off and trying to figure out if I heard what I think I heard from the therapist. Bear with me as I think out loud and let me know if I have gotten off track somewhere here.

    So difficult child 2 has had 3 melt downs in the past week. He didn't start to de-escalate until we threatened to call police because difficult child 2 threatened to break things or hurt someone - all three times. One involved threatening to break stuff with a baseball bat OK?

    Over the weekend I talked to therapist over the phone about the blow ups and he said - don't be shy about calling cops, don't do so much to help him de-escalate - difficult child 2 should just be expected to go calm down on his own when asked to do so, do the eggshell routine to some extent to try to avoid more melt downs. Don't know him real well yet, he's doing denial and ignoring in session but I'll see if we can work out something for him to call me when he's getting ready to melt down.

    Ok, I think to myself, I can do that. I have no problem calling the cops on a kid who's threatening to break things with a baseball bat. I can take a step back and stop trying to divert and contain him and just go straight to cops when he doesn't stop as asked.

    But what comes next? I say to myself. Do we let the cops talk to him and that's the end of it (assuming difficult child 2 calms down when cops get here - if they get here)? Do we have them take him to ER or local psychiatric hospital for psychiatric evaluation? And who decides? Us? psychiatrist? Cops? If he stays home after cops talk to him do we give him consequences for his behavior? What consequences?

    So I leave therapist a message a good 3 hours before difficult child 2 appointment about these questions. I asked him to talk to difficult child 2 about the blow ups and calling the cops and what will happen next.

    We get to appointment. I don't go into the sessions, just communicate with therapist outside of them through phone and e-mail messages.

    Afterwards, therapist says - thanks for the e-mails, great keep them coming, great session today. I say - did you get my phone message (he told me the day of appts to leave him phone messages not e-mails)? He says no he hadn't checked his voice mail.

    I say well I wanted to know what we are going to do if we call the cops - what comes next? psychiatric evaluation? what?

    therapist smiles real big says - no we don't have a crazy kid here. He just needs to take a walk, work out some of that angry energy and then you can have a private talk with him and work things out.

    I guess I looked incredulous because the therapist then says - you won't have to call the cops, he just needs to take a walk - as if to reassure me.

    There is no time and no privacy to discuss this statement. therapist doesn't seem to think it requires any further discussion. So we leave.

    All the way home (30 minute drive) I am getting madder and madder. Mad at the therapist and mad at difficult child 2.

    So, I am thinking, we "don't have a crazy kid here". Just one who thinks it's OK to be abusive to his family??? One who just needs to be asked politely to take a walk???? OMG, if that's the case I am so angry with this kid I could spit. You can bet your bootie I am calling the cops the first time he threatens me or threatens to break stuff from here on out. No more Mr. Nice Mom.

    As for the therapist, WTH? He goes from telling me (in previous conversations) that difficult child 2 probably shouldn't be in public school cause it's going to be too overwhelming for difficult child 2, that difficult child 2 probably needs therapeutic school setting, that difficult child 2 won't talk about what's going on in session - he goes from that to "just tell him to take a walk"?

    Am I missing something here?

    So I figure - OK - we can test this theory. I think what I heard today from therapist was that we should have "normal" expectations (normal for an almost 14 year old) for difficult child 2 around chores, school work, anger management , bathing, respect of parents, etc.

    When difficult child 2 says "I won't and you can't make me" or "you do that and I'm going to take your computer and smash it" or whatever angry, defiant thing comes out of his mouth when he's flipping out we literally show him the door with the expectation that difficult child 2 will come back and make amends/do the task/whatever after taking a little walk.

    Have I gotten it wrong somewhere here folks? Can you point to some error in my reasoning?

    Somehow it feels like I just got handed a new, improved, subtle version of the "you just don't know how to handle this kid/you're no good at parenting" line handed to me?

    Well, things are going to be very interesting around here the next few days, let me tell you.

    I will be e-mailing therapist to let him know my interpretation of our brief conversation, in case I misunderstood something.

    And I will be applying his advice forthwith.

    Let the fireworks begin...
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    Was therapist talking to you in front of difficult child? If so, do you think he shaped what he was saying because he didn't want difficult child to hear it? If not - then, in my opinion, "you have a crazy therapist on your hands" - and you should find another therapist.

    in my opinion, if you need to you call the cops, then you need to have your difficult child admitted to the ER for a psychiatric evaluation. He is on psychiatric medication, so he obviously has some psychiatric conditions - and if he is so angry that he is swinging a baseball bat then both of those should be evaluated in a medical setting.

    So sorry things are crummy. Tdocs are the thorn in my side.:mad:
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, boy,hon. I can give you my experiences with psychologists/therapists because I have always had a mood disorder so it goes far back. In a nutshell, some have good insight and in my opinion some are horrible and, worse, some are dangerous. I've walked on several because their advice was so "out there" I found myself either rolling my eyes or giggling in the car. Good ones are few and far between.

    If I were you, I'd use my Mom Gut. I personally don't like cops on younger kids. Often they talk "Juvy" when you want mental health. Or they can threaten to put the child into foster care. Trust me as an ex-foster parent who got out because the system was appalling...the majority of foster parents know even less than you do about your child and his disorders but many will act self-righteous and blame YOU for the child's behavior, especially d uring the honeymoon phase.

    At his age, if he became dangerous, he is a threat to others and I'd take him straight to the hospital. Now if he really becomes seriously dangerous and isn't just talking you may HAVE to call the cops, but it's a crapshoot guess as to what they will do to a mentally ill child. I'm the daughter-in-law of a Sheriff. Nice man, but they don't tend to "get" mental illness vs. criminality, at least many of them and in my humble opinion.

    If you think the t-doctor is out to lunch, the very best thing to do is to get another t-doctor, perhaps one that is highly recommended by somebody you trust who believes as you do about how to handle difficult children who are wired differently than your typical kid.

    I think as they get older and bigger than it's another story. We called the cops often on our teen daughter, a drug abuser, who we felt was a serious threat to herself, in particular, when she was high.

    Remember, that a therapist is giving you his own opinion and his personal idea. Could he do this to his own child? Who knows? I worked for an answering service back before the cell phone days. My best friend and I worked together. We found that there are MANY mentally disturbed t-docs and psychologists because we got to know them on a level almost nobody does. Can we say long conversations? Blowing off steam? Venting? Confiding in us? Our lone Psychiatrist had two kids who were under psychiatric care. One was a drug addict. The other had a serious eating disorder.'

    I'll bet this t-doctor, if there were still answering services, would have the girls who took messages for him almost dying to tell people who called for appointments to go elsewhere. He sounds like a loon.

    Trust your Mom Gut as to whether or not this is a good match for you son. You know him best. (((Hugs)))
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Have you spoken with anyone at your local police department to ask them how they handle calls like the one you would be making with Badger if/when he appears to have crossed the proverbial line? That may give you some insight as to how to proceed and what to expect.

    I guess I agree that if you are going to make the call, then the logical next step is a psychiatric evaluation in the ER. You might also call the ER where he would be sent and find out what would happen "if".

    Perhaps this therapist, after talking to Badger today, felt that there was more noise than substance behind his threats. You know your kid best, though.

    For instance, Ggf1 has occasionally said things like "I should just kill myself," usually during the heat of the moment when he is feeling sorry for himself and angry with a particular situation in which he and I were arguing heatedly. I knew he wasn't serious. All the other signs were not there. Or he's threatened to take a bat to my computer or the car or... fill in the blank. But again, I did not really belive he'd do it. That's not to say he hasn't been destructive when he's been angry -- and he has certainly threatened to destroy things. But when push comes to shove, his damages have been very minor and have been done secretively. Things like cutting a screen, or scratching a door or table.

    Maybe the therapist thinks Badger is just testing you and would not follow through on his most violent threats.

    Does Badger know or understand what you are willing to do if he continues the violence or threats? Does he realize what happens when the police are called, from A to Z? He's a smart kid, and perhaps if you discuss the consequences that come to kids who are violent with their families (when he's calm) he may be able to think on that long enough for it to have an impact on him, even if it's only slight, in an elevated emotional state.

    I'm not saying it's a parenting issue at all. I'm saying that the therapist's impression may be very different -- he doesn't live with you, and he doesn't know Badger as well as you do.

    You have to do what you feel is best to keep your family safe. And you shouldn't be held hostage by someone's out of control emotions. If that means a call to the cops and a trip to the ER for a 72 hour hold, so be it. What does his psychiatrist say about all this?
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Taking a walk is a tool, however, I am not sure that your difficult child 2 is ready to take on that responsibility. I think that in talking to the therapist, he and difficult child 2 discussed how things could have been handled better. Maybe the walking away before things escalated was one of the brain storm answers that difficult child 2 thought was the easiest to do. He says to therapist, "I can do that one!" Of course he can, in the therapists office under very calming situations. However, there is more to walking away than to just take a walk. Doing so is a responsibility in itself. Can he just walk around the block or will he continue to whereever? For some people, taking a walk does increase their anger and gives them time to think of revenge. He needs to learn the rules of taking a walk.

    I find that therapists are on their client's side. They have to be. They do whatever it takes to help their client get through a serious situation. When therapy starts, I think there are standard tools they expect the client to use until more complex tools are introduced. I think that sometimes therapist forget that children can not be given the same tools as adults - children live in a home where respect for their elders has to be in place. Many adults that therapists deal with live alone - no one at home to answer to - their home priviledges and responsibilities are different than kids. Throughout the therapy, kids have to be reminded that they are to respect their parents, teachers, and all authority.

    It is hard for a therapist to give advice over the phone until they really get to know how the child operates - what tools work best - so some advice you will get is general advice given to anyone who calls in with the same issues.

    Remember, you are the Mom. You are the one who really and only knows best how your child will react in all situations. Follow your Warrior Mom instincts and do what is best to keep your home safe. Your job is to protect EVERYONE in your home. Your therapist's job is to protect his client. Yes, he will include what is best for everyone but he really does not know the dynamics of the home and how everyone functions.

    I would think that a time-out in his room focusing on something - music, school work, drawing, whatever would help him calm down more than taking a walk without anything but the situation to focus on. If he refuses, go ahead and call the police. Wait until his is calm to talk to him. I always like opening my conversation with my kids when these types of angry outbursts arise with something like, "I don't know about you, but I did not enjoy today. Everyone was angry. I don't like seeing you so upset and unhappy. Can you tell me what you think happened to cause it?" I try to look at the situation and not as a personal attack. It is very difficult for me to keep my balance of fairness in these talks. I have to keep my anger and hurt feelings from coming out as I deal with my child's. It is easier for a therapist because s/he is not emotionally involved.

    I would set up written household rules to post in his room regarding how you expect him to treat others and what the consequences will be. Put on it that you expect him to remain in control of his anger and list ways to help work out that anger (talking, writing, exercise, ect), list the chores he is expected to do and the consequences of not doing them, list that police will be called in the event that ANYONE feels unsafe (no matter what his intentions, if he causes anyone to feel unsafe, the police will be called), list any other thing you can think of that he struggles with.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Here is the thing....if your child has an illness or a disorder that is making him act this way--then yes, you would want to have him admitted to psychiatric hospital for an evaluation when he becomes so out-of-control that he is a danger.

    If your child is being violent because he is a jerk....then you will want to call the police and actually have him arrested for his threats and violence.

    So the real question that you need to ask the therapist is: So, are you saying that these behaviors are my child's choice and not the result of an underlying condition?

    See what he says....

  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Let's see ~ telling a 13 y/o difficult child with a mood disorder & what not to stop in the middle of a "rage" to take a walk is, in my humble opinion, a bit off from a therapist.

    Also, it's setting you up for difficult child running. It sounds like difficult child may need medication stabilization - growth spurt lately?

    Besides a therapist or instead of a therapist have you considered an Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) worker (independent living skills). Totally different monster who will not feed into a difficult children charm - will hold a difficult child totally accountable & in the same right teach your difficult child life skills to use instead of raging. My difficult child wm has been working with Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) workers for years & while wm is (many times) using the coping/calming skills he's taught. Something to consider.
  8. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    How it is handled will be determined by two things (1) what YOU say to 911 when you call and (2) local police culture. You can get a feel on #2 by calling or visiting your local station.

    As far as #1, if you want him to go to a psychiatric hospital (has he ever been? if not, this could be a very good thing; if he is on the revolving door, ??)

    When you call 911, ask for medical transport for a psychiatric emergency. Do not ask for the police (they will come with the ambulance anyway). Explain that your son is being treated for a mental illness and has become violently unstable and you are unable to transport him safely and he needs to get to the Emergency Room ASAP.

    The therapist seems a little snowed by difficult child 2.