Still Struggling Here

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by NOLA, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. NOLA

    NOLA New Member

    Wish I had some good news to report since I last checked in but that is for another day. Just to refresh your memory, our difficult child stole $300 from us, decided to drop out of school & ran away on August 17th (the Friday before he was to begin boarding school.) I wanted to attach the letter he left so you can get a feel for who he is at present but I couldn't figure out how - I'll be happy to email you it if you have time to read it. Since that time he’s called home 3 times. First time for about 30 secs, 2nd time called on husband’s birthday - husband told him boarding school was no longer an option & they could talk to the PO and probably work something out about it so not to worry about jail, he should just come home. That didn’t work. :thumbsdown: He called last week for the 3rd time for another 30 secs – he basically just says ‘hi’ and lets us know he’s doing fine pretty much acts like it's perfectly normal for a 16 year old to be out on his own and we have absolutely nothing to worry about. Won’t say where is he is or when he’s coming home - he just says he doesn’t want to go to boarding school or jail.

    Now that we are approaching the 2 month mark I find myself once again seriously doubting our response. We reported the theft and runaway to the police & his probation officer immediately but haven’t called his friends or made any attempt at finding him. I guess mainly because we had hoped by now he would have come to his senses and made a conscience decision on his own that he is heading down the wrong path. Once again he has proven us wrong. :hammer:

    I totally agree that we can’t force change on him and only have control over our own actions but I’m struggling with what is our real responsibility as parents. Yes, this is the 5th time he's run away but he's never been gone for more than 5 days before. Twice he came back on his own before we could find him & twice we found him. I just can’t stop thinking like it sends him the message that we don’t care enough to track him down and reel him in – even if he doesn’t like it – so what? Also, I guess I’m starting to have this sickening feeling that he is never coming home. He is on probation till his 18th birthday so in his mind I’m thinking he’ll be on the run at least till then and that is a long way off. I worry that if we don’t force the issue that in a way we are still ‘enabling’ him to continue drugs (I'm certain he's smoking weed at the minimum), forget about school, etc. It’s almost like either way you look at it we are still failing him. I’m at a total loss and really don’t know which way to turn. Any insight you can offer will certainly help.

    I hope one day, if and when I’m ever clear-headed enough, to help someone else on this board and not just always be on the receiving end.

    <span style="color: #CC0000">Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother's secret hope outlives them all. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes</span>
  2. KFld

    KFld New Member

    First of all don't ever feel guilty about being more on the receiving then giving end of this board. We have all had our moments when our lives were in such termoil that we have only had the strength and energy to ask for help, but not to give it to others for the time being. You will be able to do that someday and we will appreciate it when the time comes.

    I don't know what to tell you about your choices in not really searching for your son this time. You have done so in the past, he has come home, and then left again, so in the end it didn't really make a difference. You were hoping by not doing that this time, he would find his way home. The fact that he calls once in awhile says he still needs you and cares about whether you know he's alive and safe or not. Maybe next time he calls you could ask if you can meet somewhere to see him, on his own territory. This way he knows you want to see him, but you aren't trying to convince him to come home yet.

    He is so very young. I hope someday he sees the light and decides to turn his life around.
  3. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Nola: I just went back to read some of your previous posts. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you and I'm so sorry for that! You've been practicing touch love and, in my opinion, that's what you need to continue with.

    You've obviously done lots of things right, otherwise, he wouldn't be contacting you to let you know he's ok. Don't second guess yourself about not looking for him, you followed your instincts. You've done that before and it didn't help. If he refuses to live at home and follow your rules, what more can you do?

    Are police still looking for him? If they are, then they really should be able to find him sometime. He is in violation of probation, so it would be good if they could find him and bring him back to the detention center, preferably for an undetermined amount of time. Just let him sit in there and wait, that may have more of an effect than the 15 days.

    My difficult child ended up sitting in the detention center for five weeks. It was awful! To be honest, his "crime" really didn't warrent to be held that long anywhere, however, I think it helped him, that's what he says. We'll see when he comes home.

    I'm so sorry for your mommy heart...
  4. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    Nola, I'm not really sure what else you can do. You've alerted authorities to his disappearance. You've fulfilled your parental responsibility with that. When he calls, you encourage him to make the right decisions. He is not talking to you long enough to let you know where he is, as well as he's not asking for anything. Short of hiring a private investigator and paying tons of $$ which you probably don't have....what else is there?

    This is the struggle that I know I have faced in the past. It's a never ending battle.

    I guess that's where I keep going back to Ant's mom's posts of Let go and let God.

    I don't want you to think that I think that you are ignoring or giving up...because that's not what's happening. in my opinion, it's a struggle I am fully aware of and have been in. Your feeling of helplessness, loss of control, and overwhelming fear of the unknown. What I've learned, is the system isn't funded and probably won't be funded appropriately, resources are few and far between, and ultimately it needs to be the "self" who makes the change. That self unfortunately might need time to mature and experience unpleasantness in order to mature and move forward.
  5. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    he knows where you live. he can come back anytime. he is choosing to stay away to avoid consequences. he thinks he can choose this.

    I think the point is really...what CAN you do? he doesnt want to be found. ant ran so many times I have lost count. once he took my car with him for 11 dys. once he was gone two months. he always eventually ran out of money, friends, food, etc and came back skinny and tired.

    geez you havent failed him. he is one tough nut to crack and you still love him. he is failing to appreciate you and that is what is sad.
  6. If he's still connecting, there's still hope. He's being stubborn and is probably worried about the consequences, but he's checking in and that's a good sign. My heart aches for you, I've been there, but know that you've done something right because he at least is calling!

  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I just noticed your Oliver W. Holmes quote in your signature.
    That pretty well sums it up. All of us understand. Hugs. DDD
  8. DFrances

    DFrances Banned

    Boarding school won't work for him now. He is street smart.

    However, a therapeutic wilderness setting could be life saving for him and for you.

    There is NO 24-hour waiting period for reporting missing children under 18. The first 48 hours are the most important in locating your child. Dial 911 as soon as you suspect your child has disappeared and demand that a police report be filed immediately.

    Record the officer’s name, badge number, telephone, fax and report numbers. Ask who will follow up the initial investigation.


    After you call the police, call the Sheriff's Department, state police, and police from adjoining jurisdictions. File reports, record the officers' names, badge numbers, telephone, fax, and report numbers. Check with your child's friends, work, neighbors, relatives, or anyone else who may know of your child's whereabouts. Ask them to notify you if they hear from your child. Go to your child's school, speak with teachers and staff, and go through your child's lockers and desks. Find out if any of your child's friends are missing. They may be together.

    Notify the local FBI office and have your child's description entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer. Check home computers for leads such as online contacts and details of a planned meeting.

    Call missing children helplines, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST and Operation Lookout at 1-800-782-SEEK.

    Call runaway hotlines if you suspect your teen is a runaway, such as the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000.

    Notify your state's missing children information clearinghouse and other helping organizations. Keep a record of everyone you contact, including date and time, name of person, organization, phone number, and information received. Keep your home phone staffed and record conversations. This may be the only way your child knows how to reach you. Close the door to your child's room and don't touch anything in there. Find pictures of your child to use in the search. Choose photographs that are recent and realistic. Check telephone bills for the past few months for any unfamiliar long distance calls. Cooperate fully with the police and the media. Contact runaway shelters in your area and in nearby areas and states. Give them your child's photograph. If your teen gives an incorrect name and age, it will help identify him/her.

    Contact hospitals, abortion clinics, drug treatment centers, and counseling services in your area. Leave flyers at youth hangouts, malls, and recreation centers. You can create, display, and print a Missing Person Flyer from your computer. Offer a reward.

    The Carol Sund / Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation provides Missing Person-Criminal Apprehension Rewards of up to $10,000. Hire a private investigator. Fifteen years ago, federal legislation was passed directing police to take reports immediately on any missing children under age 18, including runaways.

    Under the law, that information must be entered into the National Crime Information Center, a computerized database of victims and criminals maintained by the FBI. However, that doesn't mean police start to search immediately. While police officers are required to take a report and assess every missing child case, only the children who are believed to be in danger or are under age 13 or mentally or physically disabled are automatically classified as "critical missing persons."

    The Amber Alert is not intended for runaways or parental abductions except in life threatening situations and is intended only for the most serious, time-critical child abduction cases.


    According to the National Runaway Switchboard, every day, between 1.3 and 2.8 million runaway and homeless youth live on the streets of America. One out of every seven children will run away before the age of 18. Seventy-five percent of runaways who remain at large for two or more weeks will become involved in theft, drugs, or pornography, while one out of every three teens on the street will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Hi NOLA~

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

    Our daughter ran away twice when she returned home from her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) ... in our state there is nothing you can do about a 16 year old run away. At 16 they have the legal right to leave your home. When I called the police there was nothing they could do unless they picked her up for breaking a law.

    My prayer for your son is that while he is gone he will come to the realization that life at home is pretty good. Sometimes our kids require a little distance to see things more clearly.

    My suggestion would be to be ready to welcome him home ... by that I mean have your 'plan' in place when he comes strolling home. It won't catch you quite off guard that way.

    When our daughter finally returned home, we had the rules down on paper. She was ready to play by the rules ... finally.

    Again I am so sorry.
  10. NOLA

    NOLA New Member

    Thanks eveyone for your kind words of support - this site really helps me cope and get through the days - I read threads every single day (even though I don't respond much or even log in) but I am very much comforted in knowing there are others out there that relate to what we are going through.

    I wanted to share some good news for a change -- Woo Hoo :smile:

    difficult child called tonight and it was a decent conversation (he sounded a bit depressed) although not ready to throw in the towel and come home but he said he really missed me and wanted to tell me that he loved me. :smile: I took the advice of asking if he'd like to meet for coffee and just talk a bit more and he was receptive - I had to promise not to call the authorities - but that's okay - I hope husband doesn't freak-out. He said he'd call me tomorrow (we'll see if that is true) and we can set a time and place.

    I think I will sleep well tonight. Thanks for being there.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so glad you had a good conversation, and that he might meet you tomorrow.

    What are you going to do if husband freaks out? Do you want to talk with him before hand? Have you thought about how he will feel if you go and meet difficult child with-o him or with-o telling him?

    NOT telling you what to do. I am not in your marriage and do not have your son. My son is very difficult and scary in his own way and time. Just trying to put something out there to think about.

    Our kids are tough on our marriages. I hope you have a great night's sleep and positive outcomes tomorrow.