17 Yr old son has CD

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TallRobert13, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    Well, my son has Conduct disorder, ADHD, Bipolar and likely Executive Function disorder... this all came to light about 2 months ago when, after having moved in with me and my wife for 2 months, we discovered he had stolen over $8000 from emergency funds we had hidden in our room (pretty much all the money my wife had), used the money to buy pre-paid credit cards which he used to buy/gamble it away on STEAM playing games and buying porn (fairly intense BDSM stuff) as well as having my wife's driver's license, a check from our joint account in photos on his phone, which he used to open a PayPal account in her name. When we discovered the money gone, we eventually called the police as my son was adamantly denying taking it (we suspect he's lifted smaller amounts from purses in the past).. he lied to the police, then we discovered the photos on his phone, a second set of cops from the forgery division were sent out, who were older and less "compassionate" and at last he copped to the theft and making the account. We're certain he'd also put spyware on our computers and phones (he was pretty keen to have us on an unlimited data plan, likely to hide the huge amounts of data these malwares use). He's been charged with juvenile forgery and has a court date in 2 weeks. It also turns out he tried to commit suicide that night by swallowing an entire bottle of his ADHD medication before the 2nd set came out. He was loopy and vomiting, but hard to discern between a drug reaction or anxiety at the time, and he'd told me he'd "flushed them because they were canadian medications" (right)

    He had moved in with us as a result of behavioral issues with his mother, whom he's lived with since 2 yrs old (after we divorced). At the time, we had known about the "general" nature of his issues, but they were never presented with actual incidents or details, just vague statements about skipping classes, a few running away from home incidents. After the discovery of the theft I'm now finding out this behavior has been consistent and extreme... theft over years to the tune of probably 15000, details about lies and schemes he's pulled. Never anything violent, but a very consistent level of disobedience over even simple things like showering or brushing teeth, keeping food out of his room, doing homework (which is almost never done). Theft usually involving credit cards has been an ongoing issue with him as well.

    Life at home has gone into an insane "lockdown". All valuables have been put in our bedroom, which now has 2 locks on the door, as well as locks (both padlocks and handle locks). I sleep on the couch so there's always a presence out in the rest of the apartment, he's only out of my sight when at school or in the cafeteria at my office (he can't be in the house by himself, or alone with my wife). Given his nonexistent impulse-control and interest in more extreme sexual kinks, she's not at all comfortable having him in the home (we're not prudes about BDSM, but there are "appropriate" levels for maturity which he is well outside of) Now I run around looking into placing him into a military style academy (which his suicide attempt makes impossible now), psychiatric and psychological treatments (he had undiagnosed bipolar and anxiety, as well as the CD) as well as trying to keep track on his schooling as he's in danger of failing out of all of his classes except phys-ed. I've tried helping him with schoolwork only for him to get frustrated and storming out, staying out until midnight and telling us he's been thinking about killing himself all day. We took him to the ER and had him admitted under danger-to-self, after which he was transfered to a behavioral health clinic for a little over a week.

    My wife wants him out ASAP (and "as possible" is proving troublesome all by itself) for obvious reasons. His antisocial issues are likely to escalate, from all we've read, and the longer things go on, the more she's worrying about physical violence. He's not even been violent with either of us, but that "snap-factor" we're aware of makes things continually tense. I'm not comfortable with him living with us either anymore, but this child is as mature as a 13yr old when it comes to life-coping, and I don't see him being able to support himself at all, especially since it's in no way certain he can even graduate highschool (thank you, no child left behind) so I'm finding myself caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.

    On the one hand, he made this problem and it's his to deal with the consequences... on the other, he's so completely unprepared for real life that I don't have much hope for his survival without some help... My wife wants to move after he's out so he can't find us for potential retribution, and seems to be angling for a complete break of relations with him for us both. I get where she's coming from, and she has no "connection" with him as a parent like I do.. but I find myself REALLY resisting the idea of removing him from my life... But contact after he's out would give him a means to find us.

    I'm so spun around it's hard to know what to think or even see. While I was aware he had issues before moving in with us, I was expecting "normal" teen issues... lying about going out with friends at night, or maybe lifting 40 much from a wallet, not working to potential but not failing out either... My wife has always felt he was "off" since the age of 9, and I'll admit a lot of the things she noticed I was chalking up to "only sees dad sometimes" stresses, but apparently there was this thing with the CD all along. Getting the list of issues from his mother made it abundantly clear... Odd things like clogging a toilet in the basement, and not only NOT clearing it or telling anyone, but continuing to actually use it for a month. Bizarrely extreme.

    I feel like no matter what I do, I'll lose my wife, my son, or both. Just feeling lost. 4 months ago I ws kinda keen about having my family under one roof at last... now it's like it's in total danger of falling apart.
  2. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    I'm so sorry.

    Have you looked into wilderness programs or therapeutic boarding school? They can be expensive, but may be worth a shot while you can still make him go involuntarily. (It's super draconian, but there are transport goons who take them there against their will).

    I wouldn't hesitate for a minute in your circumstances. A good percentage of the prison population has the callous traits and entitlement issues that the ODD/CD diagnosis describes.

    I would think of it as an investment in his future. What good is a college fund if he thinks he'd be more successful at being a thief than having a job?

    If you think the porn addiction is driving the theft, there are specialized programs for that. Unless he's demonstrating more troubling signs (like hurting kids or animals), I wouldn't focus too much on the content of the porn. My understanding is that they get desensitized to the imagery over time and have to get "darker" to get the same dopamine effect. Like any other addictive substance.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    If I was your wife, Id have moved out. He is not safe. He steals, is porn obsessed (im wimpy and the bdsm part would scare me) and who knows what else he does. You dont know everything. Parents never do.

    Military schools dont want behavior problems...they send those home. I personally have not heard of wilderness camp working long term...and some are abusive. in my opinion he needs 100% residential out of house treatment. Your wife is afraid of him. I was once afraid of my own son. It was awful. I made him live with Dad. He was 21.

    I dont see this going well if you try to keep son at home. Wife WILL leave and i doubt you will be close to son, not for a loooong time, at least. He is very troubled in a dangerous way.

    There are no good solutions here. Maybe you need to get into therapy for yourself to clear your head and have a neutral third party involved, one who is not emotional. Do other kids live in your house? That would be another consideration.

    I am sorry that you have this dilemma. I hope you can find somewhere safe and therapeutic for your son.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  4. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    Oh, I get that. In all honesty, since legally he's my responsibility, we were thinking of her staying with her folks until he turns 18 and he can be out of the home, however she's also not comfortable leaving me with him by myself.

    We've been looking into it, unfortunately a lot of places seem prohibitively expensive. I need to go through my insurance, perhaps see if they can recommend options.

    thankfully no other kids, and thus far he hasn't shown signs of violence, but again, with a real-life consequence looming with the court date, and whatever will come of court, does have us both concerned about high-stress triggering.

    Unfortunately options seem to be very limited in what can be done. Even placing him elsewhere (if the courts don't decide to do more than slap him on the wrist) seems problematic.. byt the time the process would be complete, he'd be almost 18 anyways

    You and me both
  5. mollyzuzu

    mollyzuzu Member

    Tall Robert13, you have written what we have been going through for the past 10 years or so with adopted son. He is 16 as of yesterday and currently in drug and alcohol rehab for a month. You are doing all the things you need to. Checking into schools, therapeutic centers and wilderness programs. The downside to all of these is the cost. We cannot afford these programs and are looking into trying to make son a ward of the state. We have been told off the record that the state does not "have " to accept him. We need to make sure to tell the attourney just how badly off son is and that he is a danger to himself. This would force the state to put him where he needs to be to get therapy.

    Our son also stole money for drugs, lies constantly, and makes up stories. The scary part is that he believe his own lies and stories.

    It is a long, frustrating road my friend, but you have come to the right place. These folks have gone through it all and I am sure you will find solace with someone on this board.

    Good luck with what you are dealing with and know that you are not alone.
  6. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    Just getting astarted to looking into this process (the last 2 months have basically been about putting out fires, protecting our finances etc)

    Thank you, and sorry you're dealing with this stuff too.

    As of last night it's basically become the wife or the child. Once he's out, she doesn't want either of us to have contact with him afterwards... as you can imagine I'm pretty conflicted about this
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Welcome and sorry you have to be here.

    This is hard stuff and there is just no clear or concise answer.

    Is your son drinking or using drugs? I just have to wonder what he is doing with all the stolen money...
  8. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I too have a son with CD he is also an addict I used to say pot was his drug of choice but know it is clear it is anything and everything. High risk behaviour, skipping school, failing second attempt at Grade 12. Stealing and lies, lies, LIES.

    Dealing with this almost destroyed my marriage. Seek assistance guidance and support. It is so challenging to detach with Love.

    Our is facing criminal charges, continues to not work or go to school with any regularity. He continues to use drugs and we live with all valuables under lock and key.

    He has recently turned 18 and we have given him 2 weeks to get himself somewhere to live and be out of our home. Needless to say he is not too happy about that.

    We can no longer enable this behaviour and we have offers help, support and rehab and he has refused.

    No easy answers and no right or wrong. It is what it is. Find support to help you and your wife. In time with good protective boundaries in place she may be less staunch about you not having any relationship at all with your son.

    Best of luck and keep posting.
  9. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    No to the drinking, at the least I've seen no signs/smells etc. So far as drugs go, I can say he's not been doing pot (smell), but beyond that, it's hard to know. We've tossed his room several times and never found anything, but with him in public school.. well, let's say I'm not so naive as to think he has no access... It's just not obvious if he is or isn't... he seems "normal" most of the time these days, even if he's still trying to sneak stuff past me (last week wanted to do a party with friends 'from school" who turned out to be kids he met in the pysch ward... which is a HUGE no-no (they're informed every day to not trade contact info or contact each other once they leave).
  10. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    I don't have any answers, but I just wanted to let you know that I completely understand the stress you are going through. I actually come to this situation from the stepmother role, though mine was much more involved for a much longer period of time trying to help his father figure out what to do and how to get him help. We went through all of the same things you are going through (even the dodgy communication issues with the other parent!) and much worse for over five years trying to find answers. Toward the end (before we let the state take custody), it got to the point where I felt I needed to make an ultimatum to his father that he either needed to move out to continue trying to help his son (and I made it very clear I wouldn't be mad at him or judge him at all because it's his son) or his son needed to leave our home. However, this was after his son had repeatedly assaulted him and then attempted to take his life, so there was a little more clear and present danger forcing our hand. This is such a yucky, stressful situation to go through and my heart goes out to both you and your wife.
  11. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    My wife is keen on getting the stqate to take him into custody, I'm just not sure how realistic that is without violence on record (so far he hasn't, but we believe he has it in him, especially when he gets rage-triggered)
    Basically trying to not have it come to that by removing him from people he has baggage with.. as it is, she's worried he'll stalk her even once he's out of the house. Hard to judge whether this is reactionary, butgiven everything else that's happened, it's hard to see it AS reactionary, tho. I'd be anxious about it in her place. Is this something the court did as part of a sentencing, or was it something you had to request? Given my son ha a court date for the forgery charge in 2 weeks, I'm curious what petition or requests might be made of the judge in this (if at all)
  12. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    It's a difficult situation. In theory, your wife is absolutely correct. Parents should not have to go through all of this alone. We are not dealing with teenage acting out, but severe, dangerous issues that there really is no roadmap for. The assistance that is supposed to exist to help in this type of situation is mostly nonexistent or incompetent to the point of nonexistence. I imagine especially in your wife's case that it would be extremely difficult, because from what it sounds like she really had no idea what she was getting into by taking your son into her inner sanctum because of the communication issues with his mom. When my stepson's father and I started dating, he was completely upfront about what was going on with his son so I knew at least in concept what I was getting myself into when I chose to share an apartment with them, and it was still extraordinarily difficult. I've been a peer counselor for people going through very similar issues for 20 years, and it was still extraordinarily difficult. It tests every part of who you are.

    At least judging by my experience, it will be difficult to force any type of long-term removal without incidents of violence. We were repeatedly told, "it has to get worse." And of course that doesn't make it any easier dealing with the extreme levels of violation and fear that you feel as a parent going through this, especially if you are new to the battle. I would still bring up your concerns at absolutely every opportunity, especially in a court situation. I wouldn't let your son know that you are afraid necessarily, but I would tell every professional involved in the situation how overwhelmed you are and how afraid your wife is for her safety.

    In my case, my stepson was not removed from the home by any type of court order. We had taken him to the pediatric psychiatric ward after he tried to kill his father because the police refused to arrest him. They only kept him for about four days before they tried to release him as a model patient! We were panicking the whole time because we were both really scared so we repeatedly asked the professionals at the psychiatric ward, his professionals, the crisis line, the court clerk, anyone we could think of trying to find answers of what we were going to do to keep everyone safe. The only real option we were given after fighting for as long as we had and exhausting as many resources as we had was to leave him at the psychiatric ward, forcing them to hand him off to CPS. CPS has been making an anemic attempt to keep him placed with his problematic mother (who is also going through chemo for advanced cancer) for the last six months which isn't working out because he has now assaulted her husband twice, sexually assaulted two little girls at the facility his mom lives at, and tried to burn the facility down. Last week, they literally just left him in our driveway, forcing a huge, dramatic scene with the police, his mother, etc. Thankfully I am the legal owner of this house (and his father is not), so as the owner I can say he is not allowed here (which I do with his father's blessing). Now they are trying to charge his biological parents with neglect because they won't take him back, which we were warned of when we decided to hand him over to CPS. The likelihood is that it won't probably come to anything in terms of punishment against his parents because he does have a history of violence, but it is a drawn out court battle that is probably the last thing we all want to deal with at this moment. The irony of this system trying to charge his father with neglect at this point is pretty amazing, but apparently it's a common tactic used to force the parents to take children back.

    Also, especially because he is past the age of 13, keep copies of all paperwork related to him in one place because you may not have the opportunity to go back and collect certain pieces of paperwork at a later date if needed. Keep in mind that there may come a point where you will need to protect yourself and show a history of issues. I do not envy the situation you now find yourself in. At least he will be an adult soon, which gives you and your wife far more protection legally because you have no legal obligation to his care after he turns 18. Keep reaching out to any resources you can find to support your wife and you through this. Sometimes you get lucky! :)
  13. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    Also, in terms of legal questions, I found contacting the court clerk at the local court that would deal with family issues like this has been an invaluable source of information. They are usually willing to chat with you at least for 15 minutes or so to answer some straightforward questions, like if they thought it was worth filing certain orders of protection and whatnot. They aren't a lawyer so they can't give specific advice necessarily, but they deal with this paperwork and the system all day long and they often know it better than anyone. My local county has a court specifically for dealing with mental illness issues, and I could've cried when I was referred to their court clerk by a court clerk at another local court because she was just a wealth of information about what our options were and what to look out for in the future. Your county may also have a local crisis line that may (or may not) be of any help. The one here at least got us connected to another level of in-home support, which may have been helpful prior to my stepson becoming violent.
  14. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    Thank you so much.. I'll be getting in touch with them next week.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know your wife is scare and I totally understand where she is coming from. I have been there with my son. It is hard to feel you have to choose.

    Is your son seeing a psychiatrist? Is he on any medications for the bipolar? If not, that should be treated with medication. It is possible that what is seen as CD is actually untreated bipolar just running wild. If that is treated properly and he is medication compliant, some of this may go away. Hypersexuality is a symptom of bipolar, and even that can be subdued by the right medications.

    You have to be careful when treating bipolar. There is a protocol recommended by the board that certifies psychiatrists. It calls for mood stabilizers first. Antipsychotics can be added if needed to help stabilize moods. Once moods are stable, if there are still symptoms that are problematic, very small doses of antidepressants or stimulants or other medications can be trialed. People with bipolar should not be given stimulants or antidepressants unless they are on mood stabilizers and their moods are stable. Why? Because those medications (and quite a few others including decongestants) can cause mania and mood cycling.

    I mention this here because it takes quite a while to follow this protocol. It takes a few weeks to a few months to titrate mood stabilizers up to the therapeutic level to see if they will work. Then they have to be in your system at that level for about 6 weeks to know if they are going to work. Then you carefully add either a second mood stabilizer or an atypical antipsychotic and titrate that up to a therapeutic level. This can take months. Few doctors and fewer patients have the patience to wait this long for results. Many doctors will give you antidepressants because the patient will start to feel good right away. They will then go into mania, but they feel good, so it's all good, right? Wrong!!! At one point we had to change my son's doctor several times in under a year due to insurance changes at my husband's work. Each new doctor wanted to change my son's diagnosis to bipolar and change all of his medications. They didn't want to do an inpatient medication wash, or follow this protocol. They wanted to take him off of his medications cold turkey in a week. He would have had serious problems and ended up in the ER most likely (which I knew, thankfully, because our old doctor and our pharmacist had warned us when we started 2 different medications. Each needed to be slowly weaned off under hospital supervision, but they changed his life for the better.) When I told each new doctor that we could only do the new medications if they did a hospital medication wash and the mood stabilizers/antipsychotics routine, suddenly the new docs didn't think he was bipolar. They didn't want to bother with the medication protocol was all I could figure out.

    Your son probably also needs a drug test. If he is using, there is absolutely no possible way to tell if he is mentally ill or just on drugs. If he ever gets clean/sober and into recovery, he might turn out to not have any mental illness. Or he might have exactly what he is diagnosed with or even more mental illness. There really is no way to know until he is clean/sober. If he is going to detox, please make sure he has medical supervision. It is incredibly dangerous to detox without medical care. Many people die each year from this.

    I completely respect your wife's need to be away from your son. Her instincts are telling her that he is very dangerous to her. I guess if you wish to contact her once he is 18 and has dealt with these charges, maybe you can email and meet in public places to ensure your safety and your wife's safety? You need to respect her fears, but she needs to respect your relationship with your son also.

    Pressing charges was the right thing to do. It takes courage to do that, but it is necessary. He won't learn not to do that unless he faces the real world consequences. It is hard to turn your son in though. Given how much he has stolen from his mother, why didn't she make him face more consequences? Is there a way that you could communicate better with your son's mother? Some way you could work together to help him face his charges? Or is that impossible?

    I am sorry you feel you have to choose between your wife and child. I hope that it becomes easier as time passes.
  16. CDN_DAD_in_tough

    CDN_DAD_in_tough New Member

    Hi Tallrobert. Some very very familiar details in your story. Your son shares many traits with my 16yr old. I haven't noted any porn issues so far - my son has access at home only to his phone and a PS4. The laptop and ipads are all pw protected and he doesn't have access to them. But the lying and the poor choices (drugs and alcohol and sexual activity) and irreponsibility and so forth is completely descriptive of my boy. Like you, I feel like my son doesn't have the fundamental capability to be successful on his own...his 12 yr old brother is far more responsible and trust-worthy actually. It's an awful thing to not be able to trust your kid. I can't even allow him to have friends over because of the way he is. I'm constantly anxious and suspicious of everything he does. I've also become a complete control freak in an effort to keep him away from his younger brother - he's a tremendously manipulative person and while my younger son knows about his issues he is still a little naive and he really wants to trust his older brother and the reality is he can't. It's basically caused me to live a pretty messed up and dysfunctional existence for the past few years.
  17. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    Yes, he's seeing a psychiatrist and therapist now.. they're currently just getting started with him, and I feel I have to follow up each session myself because,a s you can iamgine, his relationship with the truth is somewhat...tenuous to say the least.

    Yeah, it's slow going.. one visit per doctor per week so far, and a lot of it seems to be restating things just to get everyone up to speed. Thankfully his mother sent a list of incidents and issues so I can hand that over to them to refer to so I'm only repeating the specifics of the incident that happened here. He's currently taking Abilify and Guanfacine for his ADHD... so far no anti-psychotics, but we're early into the whole thing even if months have already passed. My biggest concern is the "warm heart" a lot of pyshcs seem to inherently have, and while I understand it motivates their desire to help people with mental illnesses, at times I also feel it tends to make them blind to severity and the like by way of not wanting to be "judgmental"... He's been treated with kid gloves before, been treated sternly before, and on his moms' end, she was literally told to save her money because he's pretty adept at telling people what he thinks they want to hear... not that this is terribly difficult but I'm sort of having to be "cleanup hitter" in making sure they're not being taken in by the in-the-moment appearance of "doing well".

    At this point it's highly unlikely he's taking anything unless he's getting pills at school. So far his behaviour has leveled some, he's acting more or less "normal", and we've limited opportunities for shenanigans. He's not always in my presence, but only when at school or sitting in the cafeteria at my office while I work. The rest of the time he's under observation, but I'm aware even small opportunities are opportunities. We're doing what we can, pressing my insurance company to look into in-patient treatments and schools.... mostly so he has the level of supervision we can't realistically provide ourselves, but also to remove the stress sources for both him and my wife.

    We'll have to see... he's far more internet sacvvy than I am, and even an email address opens the opportunity to access IP addresses and the like.

    I'm guessing she didn't think to go outside the family, indeed the level of problems she was dealing with weren't really given to me until after we discovered the theft and online identity theft etc. Then we got the whole story (which I'm actually quite angry about, I feel I was duped into taking on a situation without all the facts). She's very non-confrontational and I'm betting that maternal aspect to her relationship with him led her to soft-peddle both consequences and informing those that needed to know (ie me and my wife). To be fair, my son seems to have been pretty adept at putting a wedge between us, but since "the incident" we're in daily contact and she's up-to-speed on things on our end, and fully supports the road we're going down with him.
  18. TallRobert13

    TallRobert13 New Member

    I feel for you, and (not to rub salt in) I am grateful there isn't another child in this mix.. just dealing with him alone has drained me to a degree I didn't realize was possible (I now fully appreciate WHY his mother was so famous for her 9pm bedtime... just the running around and hypervigilance is incredibly draining) You're doing the right thing, if you need to hear it. Living it, I know how much it sucks... that piece of me looking for and hoping to "find the real kid in there" is still pretty strong, and I have to literally keep reminding myself to maintain vigilance and question everything all the time. Heck, just this past week he missed 3 classes that he told me he went to the nurse's office for... and as you can imagine, following up he hasn't been in the nurse's office since the middle of October... so... yeah... trust is still nonexistant. We'll see what his therapist has to say about it on Friday
  19. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Although I have my own and somewhat different kettle of fish, I just want to tell you I recognize how challenging it is to deal with a kid who is well outside the box.

    He is fortunate to have you and I truly hope someday he grows and appreciates everything that you are doing for him.

    There has been nothing more life sucking, exasting or draining that dealing with our son. I truly wish we had him a decade earlier as we are older parents as well.

    Tough stuff We all endure here.