Bad Therapy session

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Cari Lynn, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. Cari Lynn

    Cari Lynn Guest

    Last night our therapist came by, Dr. B, to see Drew and to speak to him and go over the goals that he wanted Drew, and us, to work toward and talk about anything that may have gone on in the week he did not see him. It started out okay, but as he read and we commented, you could literally watch Drew shut down and go into himself. Finally, when we got to his school and goals to work toward, i.e homework, I explained to Dr. B what the school had said to me that day, that he had literally shut down in class, sat there at his desk, the teachers were all worried, he is now failing 5 of his 6 classes, the 6th class he has a C- in, and if he doesn't start trying he is going to loose all his after school clubs as well. Some of the teachers have wondered if maybe he is doing drugs due to the sudden and severity of how he is with them.

    Dr. B talked to Drew, we are all always calm, but he would not answer, no shaking his head or looking up at him, so he was asked a question and told we would like to hear his side of it. We all waited 10 minutes for a sign, something, but we got nothing. Dr. B got firm with him and told him that we have been trying now for weeks to help him, each time he refuses to let us know what he was thinking, he wants a voice yet he refuses to meet us half way or tell us what is going on and his attitude and and actions were unacceptable, rude, and were not going to be tolerated. He went on to explain to difficult child that he had a roof over his head, food to eat, a warm and safe place to live, clothes to wear, and parents who loved him, who were trying and all of this comes at a price, as we all work to get this, and did he expect all of that to be handed over and he do nothing but sit there?

    So, our plan of action is to get him into someone or somewhere to get a psychiatric evaluation done immediately, we need answers now, not in 5 or 8 weeks, and Dr. B is going to work on that aspect of care. I finally broke down and had to get up from the table then told Dr. B that if it took hospitalizing him for 60 days or putting him in a group home, we would be willing to do that, as I personally just could not take this anymore, I was tired and even his dad, was done putting up with these games and this attitude from him. If he won't talk or let us know what we needed to do to fix whatever is wrong, then we take it up a notch.

    Dr. B got to see difficult child get very snarky and rude to his dad, he asked if this is how their relationship was, I said pretty much. Something is going on with the difficult child and some animosity and anger, so when my husband went downstairs, as he was so disgusted he said he wanted to knock difficult child off the chair, Dr. B and I spoke about how I was baffled at this constant anger toward his dad. We both turned to ask difficult child if he could elaborate on his feelings toward his dad and we got a snotty if I tell you you will tell dad so no I won't. Both of us tried to explain no we won't and he rolled his eyes, barked out a bit of laughter and said yea right. I left at that point, so if Dr. B got out of him what his problem is with his dad, I don't know. But he will be back on Monday and we go from there.

    He has GOT to open up or I am going to be forced to ask he be placed somewhere. I am really tired of this attitude he is portraying, I won't speak but I won't meet you half way and I want all these things but I won't compromise either. You can't make me speak, I won't tell you and if he wants to fail in high school, well, he can go do it somewhere else. Maybe I am wrong to feel this way at this moment, but it wears on me badly. Were not bad parents, we don't beat him, he has never been neglected, we go to bat for him without question, we have backed him up over and over again, tried to be supportive in all he does, bend over backwards if he shows an interest in things, and we get his **** in return.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Playing these guessing games is classic passive-aggressive. You played into it by assuring him you wouldn't tell his father; your response should have been, "If you have a problem with someone, you should deal with it and not clam up." Whether you tell husband or not, is not the point at all. difficult child's bad attitude plus refusal to cooperate with attempts to resolve problems, is the issue. In other words - he sounds to me like he is choosing to be the centre of all this negative attention because he is getting some kind of payoff form it, some sense of vengeance. But he won't do anything to seriously sort it out, because he would sabotage his enjoyment. He's got into bad habits socially.

    I also strongly suspect that whatever is causing his anger issues is also not being dealt with. It's easier to blame a handy target and refuse to fix it, than to really have to accept any level of personal responsibility in the issues.

    I think you're right - he is going to need intense therapy, and therapy away from his handy targets. He has to be somewhere where the only handy target is himself. Until he learns to face the problems and deal with them, he is going to continue to be a problem and to use these deflection/PA tactics through life in his interactions with people. NOT healthy.

    The therapist sounds like a really good one.

  3. Cari Lynn

    Cari Lynn Guest

    Marguerite, I think your right and I know I am partly to blame for this. When I do ask the difficult child a question, the therapist said he finds I ask in a way it gives him an "excuse" or reason for what he is doing. Last night I did that, asked the difficult child if he hated school, is that why he doesn't want to do anything, Dr. B immediately gave me a look and shook his head, so I know and I am trying hard.

    After reading what you wrote, I also am realizing that difficult child does not, nor will he, take any personal responsibility for anything he has done or did. It is always someone else's fault, or he had to do it because no one would listen. Just the thought that maybe it is time to send him away or get a 60 or 90 day program where he can go makes me physically sick to my stomach. But, it is at the point right now that we watch him like a hawk, we have hidden everything we can, money, liqueur, put safety devices on all our hand guns and locked the ammunition up, even going to take my grandmother's coin collection to my daughters house for her to put away, as while it is in a locked box, who knows what will happen.

    I also didn't realize that we may be his "target" and yes, I should of said what you mentioned. Live and learn.....
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cari Lynn,

    Sounds to me like you have a great therapist there who is going to be proactive in getting difficult child some further testing and help. It is not unusual that the anger is aimed at you. Very often, deep inside, these kids know that no matter how much the "show themselves", we will still love them, no matter what. They are free to release their pent up anger and anxiety at home because it is a safe place. Now, you won't get them admitting that.......

    Passive-aggresive behavior for sure. You hang in there and don't be hard on yourself when you take his deflections. Be aware and make a change the next time. Unfortunately, there is no manual how how to parent these kids of's trial and error.

    I hope an appointment for the testing comes through quickly.

  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Cari Lynn,

    This sounded so familiar in so many ways. My sons therapist once told me after we had a session with him and my son.... that it pained him to see how surly and uncooperative my son got when we were in the room. He wasn't like that when it was just my son and the therapist. This is one of the thing that hurts so much, is when I see my son with other people I see the positive side of him.... with us he completely shuts down, is surly and uncommunicative. It hurts and it is painful to be sure.

    My son is older than yours and further down the dark path..... but now he is in rehab and getting some intensive therapy. This time he had some real external motivation to get help that wasn't us.... so I am hopeful that we can get to the real issues that are causing his shut down and his anger. I don't completely know what they are but I have some guesses.

    I do know for us it is time for my son to get help and figure this out and in fact we have to back off being involved in the therapy to some extent because his issues are also all tied up with wanting to separate from us and be an adult and having no idea really how to do that. And of course in my sons case it is all complicated and made much worse by his serious drug problem.

    I still think you need to get your son drug tested to see if that is at least part of the issue. Drug use complicates everything and makes normal teenage surliness much much worse.

    There are therapeutic boarding schools that deal with these kind of issues while also helping kids get on track school wise. My son went to one for a while, came back and was great, and then went down hill again.... but he went back to finish some credits for a couple of weeks so he could get his hs diploma.

    I don't think your son is going to do the work at school until you get at what else is going on. Doesn't sound like he is at all motivated to do the work and no amount of asking, begging, scolding is going to make him do the work. That is one of the reasons i wonder about drugs, there is no demotivator like pot. It saps the motivation out of you.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Cari Lynn, I didn't say what I did to make you feel bad or guilty. The fact that you have, is another bad sign. You have been the verbal punching bag for so long that you snap into "mea culpa" mode. Not healthy for you or for your family. You need to find your inner strength and learn to shrug off attempts to make you feel bad.

    One way you can begin to do this, is to stop seeing these situations as blame-based. Sometimes it's not about blame. Sometimes unpleasant things just happen. You wake up and the sunny day you had expected and that was forecast, has turned into rain overnight. No blame - weather is chaotic. Forecasting is not perfect and never will be.

    Children grow up with an immature view of the world and the confidence that their parents control everything. Discipline is often blame-based, or linked to consequences. "You commit X crime, you face the punishment." So they learn that when something unpleasant is happening, there has to be a "fault". A maturing child eventually learns this is not always the case; eventually they learn about personal responsibility and discover, to their delight, that they can produce good consequences for themselves. The problems develop in individuals whose brains do not move on to this and who remain fixated on avoiding personal responsibility through blaming others. While they do this, they fail to learn their personal involvement in consequences and thereby fail to learn how they can give themselves good consequences.

    A lot of adults are like this; having adults like this around makes it harder for a child to learn to move past this, but the reasons are far more complex. And again, while we dwell on the reasons we are too close to blaming.

    It's important to move beyond blame, in all relationships for a while. Just take note of how often it comes up in your thoughts and your interactions with family members. And work to stop it.

    Once you have put some balance back in, then yo can go back to APPROPRIATE blame, and add in some positive outcomes. "You shouldn't have been throwing the ball inside, the ball hit the vase and broke it. But if you help me clean up the glass, we'll see what we can do about buying a replacement."

    The team approach is good too. "We'll work together to solve this."

    Another line I used in the early stages of trying to teach a kid that blame was inappropriate - a kid was saying, "I didn't make the mess, so why should I help clean it up?"
    My reply was, "I didn't make the mess either, but if you don't help me, I will have to do it all myself. It's not fair, but it has to be done. This isn't about blame, it's about me asking you to help me, so we can both be finished a lot sooner and have a tidy house much sooner."
    I've also been known to add, "If I have to do it all myself, I will be too tired to fix your favourite for dinner; it will be leftovers instead. So help me now, so I can then have the time and energy to do something nice for you."

    Not blame-based, but still consequence-based. Plus the promise of a good consequence if help is forthcoming.

  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    -Actually, it sounds like a great therapy session. The ONLY way the therapist is going to be able to help is to see exactly what you are dealing with and how you interact with each other. It took YEARS for us to get Kanga to act like herself in front of the tdocs, we just spun our wheels until she did.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Cari Lynn, at 16 a drug test should be MANDATORY with changes like your son has gone through and his behavior in class and at home. Not negotiable. Take him somewhere and get him a really BIG drink then take him to the docs or home to do a drugstore test. Either way, if he refuses, take EVERYTHING away from him. Lock his room or strip it, whatever so that he has clothes YOU pick that he does NOT like, a mattress on a floor, and make sure that all food he likes is locked up and at school he can only get the hot lunch and NOT pick from other choices. Take money and access to bank accounts away (as a minor you have that right), also if he has a car take it away - not just the keys, go and take some parts out of it also. Removing the spark plug wires is usually easy but you MUST remember the order they are hooked up in. You have no way of knowing if he has made an extra key in case you take his or not, so this will keep him from going anywhere. Lock up the tv, computer and ALL video games, his music, his IPOD, simply everything that is not his mattress, a blanket and a pillow, and the stuff I listed earlier.

    It sounds, and is, harsh. But if he wants the benefits of living in a home with a loving family, nice things, good food, etc... he can earn it the way the rest of us have to earn things. There are NO FREE RIDES. I would only take this stuff away at this point for major things like refusing a drug test. I would let him know that as the doctor says, there is a price to be paid for having a nice life. His behavior is NOT meeting this price so he may lose ANYTHING unless he starts cooperating in therapy and/or in school.

    It is harsh, but so is his behavior. How far is he going to get with college or a job with this behavior? He likely does not realize that at age 18 you do NOT have to give him another dime, much less let him live with you. He could get loans for college, but unless he is willing to perform he will be kicked out after the first or second semester. He would also likely still have to have a job, which means full time school PLUS work just to survive. Otherwise any job he gets will be low paying, boring, and he will likely hate it. If he shuts down and refuses to speak to customers or his coworkers or boss he won't last a week in the job. His PA behavior is NOT something he can get through life on and it is high time he learns it.

    Better he learns this NOW than after the world kicks him around. You cannot force him to learn this, all you can do is to make his life as realistic as possible. Reality is that he won't have a happy life with these behaviors, and if he cannot take responsibility for anything he will never achieve anything. The doctor is right about giving him questions that take responsibility away from him. He will NOT take responsiblity unless he has to, and it will hurt him in life.

    A group home or wilderness program or long psychiatric hospital stay may help him. The problem is going to be finding this. It may be incredibly expensive depending on what your insurance will pay. You also must find the right program, as not every program is for every child's problems. It hurts to have them have to go somewhere, but if it will give them the best chance at a good adult life then it is worth it. Check your insurance coverage to see what they will and will not pay for. Some parents have taken second mortgages. At one point I had the cops take my son. He was determined to beat me if I did anything that upset him. Saying "Hi, how was your day?" was an "offense" in his eyes and he learned that I flat out REFUSE to be battered by anyone. I won't set that example for my other kids and I won't let my son be in a position where he might kill someone as the guilt from that would likely result in his suicide. He was taken to the local Youth Shelter, which he LOVED because they had computers and video games. He got tossed out of there because the rules were no physical contact and he thought those were for other people not him. He ended up at my parents and after a total of 3 court appearances where somehow the paperwork needed to press charges was never there (the judge did NOT want to deal with this, and he kept telling the officer to find the paperwork in court and behind the scenes he told the officer NOT to do any paperwork so we would maybe be forced to solve it ourselves. That judge was NOT re-elected 2 yrs ago because he did this a LOT and was the only family court judge for our area.) anyway, my dad begged to have a shot with Wiz rather than to have him keep wondering every day if today was the day he would have to leave with no notice. I gave in and let Wiz stay with them and somehow Wiz turned things around. It was LONG and painful and awful. My relationship with my parents will never really recover from it either.

    Anyway, you are at a crucial point. At his age you can, but should not, go much longer with-o a drug screen. Drugs are just too easy to get, esp in high schools. Then you will have info to help you figure out what to do next. I like your therapist's approach. Listen to him. Also read "Parenting Your Teen With Love and Logic" as soon as you can. I think you will find it both enlightening and empowering. Of course don't disappear from here - we are a great resource because so many people just do not really understand what you are going through. (((((hugs)))))