A Mother's Choice Part III : Home at last?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PorcupineWhisperer, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. PorcupineWhisperer

    PorcupineWhisperer New Member

    For those who have followed this thread (despite my great gaps in between postings) you should remember the cast of characters and the dilemmas of a mom and her pre-sociopathic son and the decisions that were being faced. Short recap for new viewers...er...readers: 'Junior' was placed in an emergency shelter after being released prematurely from an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Junior had threatened to kill mom and sister in the past and was placed in state custody by mom in an effort to get him intensive mental health care.

    We will now resume our story already in progress....

    After 90 days in the emergency shelter, all involved were once again faced with a dilemma of where does Junior go from there. The shelter had refused to extend his time due to some ..um... incidents that took place while he was there. A Short list of behaviors included stealing, lying an occasional tantrum or two and also being targeted by other residents. Junior was initially placed in the shelter while the state searched for a foster home for him. But after 90 days no foster home could be found (basically due to his age and his behaviors). So...., here we were again. The choices were now to either send him home or start to look for a foster home that might be a significant distance from his family and his therapist (me).
    After much discussion, the question came down to what I thought was the best choice ( this way the state would be able to say, "Well, the therapist said it would be a good idea...."). After some discussion with mom (and making sure my liability insurance was up to date) , I wrote a letter stating that I felt that it would be OK for Junior to return home - with a safety plan in place of course.

    It's been a little over a month, but Junior has really done well. Initially Junior had to be reminded that he really had not 'earned ' his way home and that this was a chance for him to show he could do it. The state will stay involved for six months and the caseworker visits every week. There have been a couple of rough spots including one at school involving a tantrum, the school security officer and handcuffs. Not pretty, but I have to say that the school was very open to my meeting with them the next day and developing a crisis plan which has proved to be very effective. Short of that, things have been really good. He just completed the eighth grade and is looking forward to high school, he has a 'girlfriend ' and mom is dealing with more typical teen issues rather than mental health stuff. Life is good.


    Around the time of the police incident at school, the doctors found several spots on mom's lungs which they are pretty sure are cancer. Additionally, There is also some cardiovascular stuff that is going on as well. Truthfully, it doesn't look good. Junior is now very worried about losing his mom - the ultimate fear for a kid with severe attachment issues. Mom is stressed by the medical stuff, but also is really concerned about what will happen to Junior if something happens to her. Junior's sister is almost 16, smart and independent - she obviously would be devastated by the loss of her mom, but she could manage and probably live with other family members until she finished high school. But what of Junior?

    Stay tuned....
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so glad to hear difficult child is doing so much better. I'm very sorry to hear about your health. Many gentle hugs and prayers being sent your way.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    PW, it's good to hear from you.

    What an awesome outcome for your young client/patient. (in terms of behavior). Absolutely tragic about mom being ill. It just seems some difficult child's never get a break. Life just keeps throwing them curve balls.

    I must admit that you,mom,school and state seemed to have done an amazing job providing a security net for difficult child. Great job, PW.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999


    Good to see you again!

    What a tough situation. I know I'm quite PTSD from old thank you, but the fact that the emergency shelter refused to extend his stay because of "incidents" really just screams BEWARE to me.

    I do think it was very good that it was emphasized to him that his return home was not the result of his improved behaviors. I think it's also pretty impressive he's back in his home school and, it sounds like, working on some pretty typical social skills. Your willingness to give concrete suggestions to the school can only work in his favor, especially since the school is receptive (have to admit, I'm really awed by this working relationship!). Is the same level of cooperation expected in the HS setting? What will Junior be doing this summer to keep him engaged and occupied? And of course the big question, how much honeymooning does Junior do and do you anticipate the end of the honeymoon to be spectacular or manageable?

    Oh my gosh, Mom's illness really throws a wrench in there. My heart just sank to read that. The stresses on that family really must be unimaginable. I hope that it will be treatable and that Junior is able to deal with it using appropriate supports. Sigh... sometimes you just have to wonder why some folks have to face such challenges.

    Thanks for the update - Junior and his family are getting a lot of positive thoughts from me.
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    Thanks for the update.

    Please do not brush off easy child daughter so easily. I expect she will have the worst of times.

    As for difficult child ~ he's basically burnt every bridge he's crossed. It's time to work on different life scenarios & looking for other living options for difficult child. I'd back off on attachment issues & start working on life skills, anger management; mostly learning to accept direction. I don't say this lightly PW.

    Life isn't fair PW & it's quite likely that I'm jaded in your eyes.

    However, given the tweedles & wm in particular, I wouldn't trust this "transition" for all the tea in China. Things are still too new for this young man. It's only been a month & I would expect we have some pretty intense honeymooning going on. The stress of mum being ill is going to really bring out your clients true colors. Mum's treatment is going to sap her of all strength. She is going to have to concentrate on her health, not difficult child. This will be a blow to this young man & again I would expect the typical difficult child responses. I've been ill over the last year & it's been a truly ugly scene.

    I've seen this in action time & again. AND I have every intervention known to man for the tweedles.

    AND I truly hope I'm wrong.
  6. PorcupineWhisperer

    PorcupineWhisperer New Member

    WO: My health is good, it's the mom who is having trouble. I'm sure she would appreciate your kind words however.

    Fran: Glad to see you're still around. Thanks for the positive words. North Carolina, WOW! Sounds like you escaped from big city life. Cool.

    slsh: In regard to the honeymoon, that actually ended around day three back home. Junior was openly defiant towards mom, rough with the family dogs, sleeping in school, not being honest in therapy etc. This is when we had our 'discussion' about his being home being a gift and just like any gift that's not appreciated, it can be taken away. I showed him a copy of the letter that I wrote saying it was a good idea for him to come home - I told him I had no problem writing another one saying we may need to rethink this decision. After that mom reported that he was actually trying to do better and when he made mistakes he made honest efforts to fix them. He did continue to have trouble with sleeping in school, but this was taken care of on it's own. Let's just say it's a not a good idea for those with bedwetting issues to get used to sleeping in class - especially classes with their 'girlfriends' in them. Need I say more.... :). In regard to high school, the crisis plan that we put together will follow him, but I don't know how receptive or skillful the school staff will be. He really had a great Special Education teacher. As far as this summer goes, I think due to level of supervision he requires, I'm not sure what the family has planned.

    TL: I think the idea of Junior having trouble finding a place to live (should something happen to mom) is less about burnt bridges and more about the difficulty of finding a place for an adolescent with a severe disability. I think mom would be struggling with the same issues if her child had autism for example. It's something that's hard for any parent to think about: what would happen to their children if something happened to them. I think for parents of kids who are harder to manage and need specialized care, it's an even harder issue to address.

    In regard to mom's health effecting Junior's behavior - I think it actually has had a positive effect. Mom has always been a strong 'get it done' kind of woman and I think it is hard for him to see her less able. He is worried, but he also doesn't know how to help her feel better. What we have talked about is that there are ways he can support mom and one of those is by being more independent and not requiring multiple redirections. We also worked on how being sick might effect mom's behavior and how things might be different around the house. Right now, mom has good days and bad days - we'll see how Junior reacts if things get worse.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    PW, I'm glad that you have written to keep us up to date. It has been a long road for your families. I hope that Jr will be able to hold it together. It's hard that school is nearly out. Are there additional plans/restrictions for during summer break? Is mom going to be home the whole time?

    That's just a rotten mess to add to he mix, and I hope that she will be well.
  8. mama2lexxie

    mama2lexxie New Member

    Oh my, that poor family. They are in my thoughts & prayers.
  9. Christy

    Christy New Member

    I'm new to this story. What a turn of events. Wishing mom and difficult child some good luck for a change. It is great that they have you on their side.

  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow......my heart goes out to junior. He sounds too much like my son. I have worried every single day of difficult children 17 years that something would happen to me. I am the only attachment he has - and that worries me greatly.

    That said, there are some amazing treatments out there now for cancer. My dad was given 6 months to live, a year ago - and he is still cancer free - due to some innovative and ground breaking medicine.

    Sending all the energy and positive vibes your family's direction.
    As you might remember you and I are just a couple of miles from each other. If your family needs any help, please feel free to PM me.
  11. PorcupineWhisperer

    PorcupineWhisperer New Member

    Thanks for all the positive thoughts for the family. I did my weekly therapy with the family on Sunday and for the most part all looked good. The doctors haven't been able to tell the mom anything definitive yet, but she is determined to beat it - whatever it is. Junior continues to be worried, but feels whatever mom has must be bad if the doctors don't know for sure what they are dealing with.

    While Junior is concerned about his mom, he was not above trying to slip a copy of the Simpson's Movie in with the stack of movies mom was renting the day before. Mom had expressly told him he could not rent the movie, that it was inappropriate. He seemed baffled as to how the movie got into the stack when he was confronted by mom. I believe the term he used was it 'accidentally' got in there.... :)
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I just want to comment on what an amazing therapist you seem to be. You get our kids.........like very few. I wish we knew about you when my difficult child was young. You should feel so proud, and so accomplished that you utilized your gifts in this life to the fullest. Junior and his family are amazingly lucky to have you.
  13. mama2lexxie

    mama2lexxie New Member

    I agree!!
  14. PorcupineWhisperer

    PorcupineWhisperer New Member

    I appreciate the compliments - I feel very fortunate to do what I do. This is a really neat family and I really would like to see them be successful. Junior is definably a challenge - 9 hospitalizations and 3 Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placements since age 5 (this includes 10 months in a state hospital at age 10). I have really had to up my game to help him make progress. Mom has been super supportive - even when my suggestions intruded into the 'mom realm'. Junior really has worked hard to make his life better. He has asked me several times if he is a bad person and I have told him point blank that he has the potential to be. The only difference is the difference that he makes.

    I will keep you posted.