The Problem is...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, May 12, 2009.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    ... sometimes it's him or us.

    For example, if difficult child has freedom of the house, we lose our freedom because we are anxious, watching, guarding our things, wondering what he's doing.

    When he loses his freedom, like when he's grounded to his room, we gain our freedom and it's so sweet.

    Since Friday he's been grounded to his room, comes home from school, goes upstairs, we put the alarm on. He's been excused from all chores since he does a bad job and uses it as an opportunity to steal from everyone else. He gets escorted out for meals, the bathroom and showers. And still, STILL, he managed to disappear a brand new pair of shoes he was given Monday morning.(we stripped his room, they aren't there). How did he disappear them? husband found a second pair of older shoes he'd been using as a reserve, older, but not junked up like his current shoes. Those are missing too. WTH?

    But for us? Four and a half days of freedom, it feels good. But is it fair to him? husband feels guilty, but is enjoying the respite too. But how long can he be grounded? It's no way for him to live. But letting him have the range of the house even under supervision makes us miserable.

    How do you resolve this?
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    1st, check the ground outside his bedroom for the shoes. Can he open the window to toss them? Also between the matress and box spring - way deep in the middle or take drawers out of desks and dressers to see if they are behind there.

    2nd, How is his attitude in his groundings? It sounds like you are super strict and that may be what he needs. If his behavior during this is compliance, maybe he is enjoying the structure?

    When you lift his grounding, maybe enforce a schedule. Set up the times he is allowed in each room of the house. Make a poster of what he is allowed to do in each room.

    Does he like to read? He may like detective stories where he gets to figure out the "who done it". My 12 yr old difficult child loves joke books which gets him to laugh. Laughter is good.

    I know constant supervision is so draining of your energy so maybe a time schedule of what time he is allowed to do what will help? Then you don't have to worry about what is next.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think this child needs to be away from the rest of you as much as possible. He has taken over the house, and it's not your fault. He's dangerous.

    As for the shoes, if they are a good brand, maybe he sold them and that's why you can't find them. I have no idea where he put them. I do know that a sneaky difficult child can do the seemingly impossible. When my daughter took drugs, she managed to mess with us even under close supervision.

    I feel for you and hope for the best. I can't tell husband what to feel, but in your case I'd enjoy the respite.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Also check down the vents and in the attic if there is an access from his room.
  5. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    I've never been able to send my son to his room without punishing the rest of us, because he screams and beats on the walls. He even got a screw loose from the closet door hinge and used it to scratch up all the paint on his walls. He's yanked up carpet and tile, took a handle of a dresser drawer and used it to carve marking into the dresser, etc. He's more dangerous when I can't see him.
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  6. Jungleland

    Jungleland Welcome to my jungle!

    What I want to know is how do you make him stay in his room? I ask this because, our difficult child throws HUGE rages or meltdowns at just time outs in her room. Cannot imagine how we'd keep her in there for a grounding! :surprise: I must say that I am sooo jealous. If I could come up with a way to keep difficult child in her room except for meals, bathroom/showers breaks, we'd be such a calmer house. I am not saying we'd keep her in there always, but boy a day or two would be a super respite!! ;)
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds like a terrible way to live and a huge burden on the family. If he's earned the consequence, you shouldn't feel guilty for carrying it out even if it offers you a respite. That's not the reason you are grounding him but just a positive side effect for you. Take care of yourself.
  8. WSM

    WSM New Member

    He is compliant about the grounding, he goes in there without argument. He never throws tantrums, his demeanor is timid and frightened.

    On the outside of his door we have a window alarm. When the door opens and the contact is broken, an alarm goes off. He's a masterful sneak. I've got amazing stories of how he got from point a to point b without anyone seeing that you wouldn't believe, except for the fact that he got from point a to point b.

    He does vandalize, but since his game is he's an angel and he didn't do it, it's kind of hard to pull off. But just the same he's destroyed most of his things, slashed his bed, dumped paint and syrup in his room, peeled plaster off walls, etc... "It was like that" "I don't know how that happened".

    He has very little furniture in his room, just the essentials, and his closet is padlocked shut. His room is kind of like a military barracks, it does not take long to search. The most tedious part is going through all the clothes, he will hide things in the pockets, or the fingers of gloves, etc...

    A week or so ago he snuck a knife upstairs and slashed his window screen. husband had liquid nailed the screens into the frames so they wouldn't blow out. difficult child on several occasions has slashed his mattress, but this time he only slashed his window screen. ("I didn't slash my window screen, how could I get a knife in this room, it won't fit in my pocket"--like it can't be tucked into a waste band. We are too stupid to think of that. The kinife was found under his mattress).

    Outside his window is a ledge that goes across the front of the house. I think he left in the night and either threw his shoes in the neighbor's yard, or somehow climbed down from the second storey. We know he can do that because about two years ago he did and the police picked him up in the middle of the night walking around with his pjs on over his clothes (usually it would be the other way around, clothes over pjs--weird). But how could he get back up? My 14 yo son was able to climb up using the side electrical box. But he's a gymnast and he was 2 years older and taller. difficult child is a scrawny little thing...but maybe...

    I think he might have left the room at night and disposed of his shoes. I told husband my theory and husband said (at the possibility that he left the room at night thru the window), "Well, nothing bad happened." Which tells me that husband probably thinks it's true but doesn't think it's a big deal.

    When I mentioned it to difficult child, he said, "How could I go out the window, I'd get hurt." I pointed out there was a ledge outside the window abt 2ft lower than the window sill (how dumb DOES he think we are?). So then he switched to the "How could I get back in my room. Every morning I'm in my room." The way he said it, too glib, too innocent, made me sure that this is what's happening.

    Ok, so what? Well, he can go out his window and come in downstairs and wander the house. The 17 and 19 yo wander in and out at all hours and don't always think to lock the door behind them. Because they are usually up until 3 or 4, it would be tricky for difficult child to wander freely downstairs, and the layout of the first floor is open, but it wouldn't be impossible. They aren't watching for him after all. I want husband to fix the window so it can't be opened more than 4 inches. (In case of fire, difficult child could break the glass. They are windows from 1979 and easy to break). Sometimes on the news you hear of people who chain their kids to a bed. We would NEVER do that, NEVER EVER...but I can understand why people might be driven to it.

    So I don't know. But I do know that the last 5 days of grounding him have been a relief for me, and for daughter. She gets to leave her DS on the coach when she goes to the bathroom. I noticed husband left his wallet and keys on the kitchen counter.

    But it brings us back to the idea that our dilemma: our freedom is purchased at the cost of his liberty; his freedom is deprives us of ours. But you can't morally keep a kid in his room whenever he's home and if you do so, you can't expect him to become an emotionally stable adult.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think this kid will become an emotionally stable adult. Sadly, he is already way damaged, not sure why.

    I would consider the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so you can live in freedom without him holding you hostage. His freedom includes dangerous behaviors. And he isn't getting any younger or smaller...jmo.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with MWM.
    You can't continue sacrificing your and your family's freedom in attempts to keep difficult child contained. And even with hyper-vigilance, difficult child is still managing to break through the supervision.

    Honestly, it is impossible to provide in the home environment the type of supervision, support and structure that's available in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Placing my difficult child in a permanent care facility was the best thing we ever did--for him AND for the rest of the family.
  11. WSM

    WSM New Member

    But how do you get them into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?
  12. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Can you get an alarm for the outside of the window? One he doesn't know about - install while at school - etc? Might be cheaper than jerry-rigging the window not to open, at least until you're sure he's actually getting out that way?
  13. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Contact the admission office of an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and ask for the process of admitting your son.

    The admissions office can also help you contact your insurance company to see if your policy will cover this.
  14. PorcupineWhisperer

    PorcupineWhisperer New Member

    Something to consider about placing difficult child in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), is picking the right Residential Treatment Center (RTC). difficult child sounds like quite a character (I know you probably use other adjectives :) ), and he sounds pretty tricky to get a handle on in terms of treatment. in my humble opinion, an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is only as good as the skill of the people who work there. Because difficult child is very sneaky and does not do a lot of ‘acting out’ (rages etc), I could see him coasting through an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program looking good on the surface, but getting progressively worse underneath. You also have to consider the negative behaviors that difficult child might absorb in such an environment from his peers.

    One other thought (again in my humble opinion), I think there is a time line to keep in mind when working with kids like difficult child. The longer the behaviors continue, the harder they are to treat and the farther that they are carried into adolescence, the more difficult they are to treat. The younger kids like difficult child are chronologically and emotionally, I think works to a treatment advantage.

    In terms of getting him into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), I would think your therapist would be your number one resource in this area. I would think that the therapist should be able to offer some guidance on how to secure placement as well as helping to manage his behavior until an appropriate placement is found.

    I wish you the best of luck. I get the sense from your posts that difficult child is a 'major player’ (my term for kids who are fairly high risk). I hope he (and your family) find the help you need.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    PW...I have the same concerns. My read on this kid is that he is a budding sociopath which differs greatly from some of the other more outwardly obnoxious kids who enter Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. I think it will take a special type of placement with a special type of treatment. And very long term. This type of child can honeymoon for a very long time.