As if it weren't difficult enough already!


My son has called for the past three nights, totally obsessed about the fact that we have no immediate plans to visit him.

Yesterday, I talked to his easy child and PO, and both feel that we need to keep doing the tough love thing until he earns visits off the grounds which he hasn't done yet. He's not doing anything terrible, but he is wasting a lot of time and energy, trying to "negotiate deals with his easy child and the house staff and becoming angry and frustrated when it doesn't work. He hasn't accepted the fact that he's got to do things their way to get privileges.

The general wording his easy child is using is: "I'm not saying your parents CAN'T visit, I'm saying that it's not a good idea." His PO agrees.

Unfortunately, my son's interpretation of this is that we COULD come if we wanted to. The fact that we're more interested in compying with his easy child and PO's wishes because it's in our son's best long-term interest totally escapes him!

We've gone through this numerous times already, and I've stuck with our stock response that we are going to continue doing EVERYTHING his easy child and PO ask us to do because we want him to succeed in his program.

BUT, I've got to say this is wearing me down. And, it doesn't help that his easy child was sitting RIGHT next to him during the conversation last night, reinforcing the fact that he has no interest in keeping him from his family and has NOT said that we absolutely may not visit him, only that he doesn't think it's a good idea. I WISH he'd just say a flat-out "NO!" ARRRGGGG!


New Member
I almost think it's better that he's not giving the flat out no, and that you are showing your difficult child that you are sticking to this, even though you have a choice, because you feel it is best. Just continue to tell him that you love him, but that it's in his best interest for him to earn the priviledge of coming home to see you, then change the subject. You may have to get really tough and tell him that if that is going to be the topic of every call that you aren't going to speak to him on the phone until he can table that subject and change it to something else. Remind him that he needs to focus the energy he's wasting on harssing you about this, into energy spent doing what he needs to do for himself there.

It's not easy, but you saw how your reactions effected him positively last week. Keep that in the back of your mind, how proud you were of yourself and how much good it did all of you.

Hang in there. You can do this!!!!


Karen, I didn't think of it like that. You're right. I guess I was just wanting his easy child to give a more definitive answer which would take the heat off of us, making HIM the bad guy rather than us.

In thinking about why this bothers me so much, I have a sneaky feeling I'm trying to avoid the nasty part of parenting again, saying my OWN definitive "NO!"

I really like your idea to tell him that he needs to move along or perhaps not call for awhile.

Thanks, I CAN do this!


(the future) MRS. GERE
CaMom, we had to do that with Rob when he was at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He would call us sobbing. Every time. For weeks. Broken record. Same thing with visits. When we would get there he would sob. Endless. Time after time.


Finally, I/we told him that we wouldn't talk on the phone if he was just going to cry. And we wouldn't visit if all we were going to do was sit with him while he cried. When I had that visit conversation it was because he was sobbing on the phone the day of the visit. I/We had had enough.

So interesting how a little over an hour later when we got there he was BEAMING from ear to ear and we never had to sit through his tears again.

Stay tough. Your son knows that in the past he has brought you to your knees. You need to prove to him that YOU have changed, just like he needs to prove to you that he is working harder and changing as well.

You can do it!...and if you feel weak, go out to dinner with husband and don't answer the phone.

No mercy!



New Member
It bothers you because he's being manipulative and I know that always makes my stomach turn. As good as we get at detatching, the old feelings come back so quickly when it comes to their difficult child'ness. I know there are certain things my son does that make me so anxious sometimes because it makes so much come flooding back to me that I don't ever want to go back to dealing with. You are used to peace now and when he interrupts that peace, it will bother you.


Hi All,
I just posted about my own manipulative difficult child--good to read this thread! CAMOm, you are doing great, stay strong--remember you are an inspiration to me. If you can do it so can I.

Karen, yes, my stomach is turning right now--it really sickens me how manipulative difficult child 1 is and how hard it is for me to stand up to her.



OMG! Suz! My G hasn't done the tears so far. I just don't know HOW you withstood that! I'm getting tougher but I still end up upset after talking to him, even without tears.

You must be so strong!


Well, yeah, Karen, that makes perfect sense! Really, things ARE very peaceful around here, and, lately, I could really do WITHOUT his calls, especially when he gets on one of his kicks and just WON'T let go...

Even in his last letter it was, "Mom, I love you and
Dad, and I miss you" alternating with "O ya, Mom, can you buy me the new Jordans?"

As his easy child said, he thinks he's at a country club...


Hi Jane, I just finished reading YOUR post. How disappointed you must be in your daughter! I'm so sorry...

I think my son might have tried lies more often, but staying focused has always been so difficxult for him that he would begin a lie but then say, "Oh, forget it!" because it was simply too much trouble to follow it through.

Thanks again for the kind words. I don't feel much like anyones inspiration, but I'm trying.


New Member
CAmom, I agree with all that Karen said. If the tears come just keep saying to yourself it is another manipulation and I am not going to fall for it. Stay strong, you are doing GREAT!!!!! -RM


Well-Known Member
I totally agree that he's trying to manipulate and guilt-trip you again.

:sad: "...if you REALLY loved me you'd...(fill in the blank)" :sad:


:sad: "...You could if you wanted to!" :sad:

I think the "tough love" concept is getting to him! It's working! He's testing you out and hoping you'll bend. You need to stand your ground.

If you start to feel bad about it and to feel sorry for him again, think about this ... how suspect is any sentence coming out of the mouth of a teenager that starts with "I love you" and ends with the words "new Jordans"!

He's trying to play you again, and he's frustrated because it's not working for him anymore! You're making progress!



RM and Donna, I know, I know...he's so darned obvious it's funny.

He won't use tears, thank Heavens--he hates to show that kind of weakness. His usual line, I'm finding, is, "Well, if you won't ________ (fill in the blank), then I don't want to talk to you and (sometimes see you...)for ________ (fill in the blank with days, weeks, months, depending on how angry he is)!

By then, a staff member has usually heard him getting hot and tells him his time is up. That's usually followed by several days of no calls, and then we start again. You'd THINK, after five months, he'd get tired of this game! I sure am...


(the future) MRS. GERE
No, I am not that strong. It breaks my heart that Rob is such a phoney. I lived with the kid who cried crocodile tears at the drop of a hat all his life. When he was at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I thought it was sincere until that time when we showed up not that long afterwards and he was beaming. Then I knew once more, that he was full of baloney.

I am not that strong, I am fed up.



Active Member
So Karen....when are you teaching the next detachment class? I want a front row seat :smile:

CaMom, I hope you printed out that list in the archives on what to say to difficult child when they call.

It's all about the Do To Get. difficult child's just think they get and then get caught up in the do do :rofl:

Really though :bravo: You're doing a great job!


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> again :flower: :flower: :flower: for how far you've come.

the point your son seems to go out of his way to miss is that he has the control here. all he has to do is comply with-the rules & earn his off campus pass. he still believes his manipulation & guilt trips will work on you.

i'm wondering....have you considered just not answering the phone every night. maybe only pick up two times a week....& cut the conversation off when he starts his nonsense?? a quick, "sorry you feel that way" then gee, hon, got to run....someone's at the door or another call is coming in....any reason to get off the phone quickly.

i think the easy child won't flat out say he won't let you visit is twofold. first, he's not actually saying that to you & husband. it is a recommendation. second, difficult child simply MUST realize that this is his to fix. the responsibility is squarely on his shoulders.

one last thing....when you do go to visit him REMEMBER! no buying him things when he earns that off campus pass. that is not what visits are for after all.

you're doing good. it's natural to want to be there for him....coddle him. stay strong.

</span> </span> </span>


New Member
Well, if difficult child can get you to visit against the counselor's recommendation...doesn't that put you squarely on difficult child's "side" in all this?

difficult child is where he is because he made some really bad choices. Unless he uses this time to think about why he did that, he will make the same kinds of choices, again.

You posted about difficult child in kindergarten once, CA.

This is very much like that, if you think about it.

difficult child is where he is for a reason. If you want to help him change, you have to be very clear with him about using this time productively.

He should not be crying to you now when he would not listen to you before.

These people are trying to help difficult child see a better way.

What would happen if you told difficult child that the next time he calls?



Well-Known Member
Sending supportive hugs your way.

I'm not sure it would be effective but I did just have a "light
bulb moment" of sorts. Perhaps (maybe that should be in all it might be wise to say something like this:

"difficult child don't worry about what we say about calls and visits. Don't
worry about what the adults in charge say. We are all Adults.
Concentrate on what will help you make mature choices for your own life. You only have six months and you will be an Adult too!
The staff there will not be part of your adult life. We will
not be making decisions for you as an adult, either. Do what
you truly believe will serve you best because that is what we all
want for you. We want you to have the best life possible."

It sounds like he is so intent on game playing that he is not
realizing that he is not a little boy playing anymore. "Maybe"
if the can realize that the staff are adults working their job
and you and husband are adults near the end of the parent road "maybe"
he will begin to see himself as alone and needing to figure out
what kind of adult life he wants for himself.

Of course..........maybe not! DDD


Barbara, I've tried writing letters and talking to him about the BIG picture and what he SHOULD be focusing on now, but he can be very single-minded in that he'll pick a "cause" and go for it with all his mental energy. It's trying to get that directed in a direction that will actually benefit him that has always been a challenge and continues to be now.

And, trust me, we will NOT go against the advice of his easy child and PO because they're the experts here, and I truly believe they have his best interest at heart, even if HE doesn't understand that...


DDD, You've got him pegged exactly...he's a 17 1/2 year old operating on a 12-year-old level at the moment. I think it's just going to take him a lot more time than the five months he's been in the program. I understand that they can keep him in this particular program until age 19, if necessary, and in the juvenile system until age 21. I HOPE it doesn't take him that long to get it, but he's an extremely stubborn, strong-willed individual.

And, I LOVED your "light-bulb" moment, and it SHOULD have been in caps. Do you mind if I plagerize you in my next letter to my son?