Thanks for checking up. I check in every day and see what's up with you all but am a bit unsettled and don't have much to offer at the moment.
We've been up and down about our son's release date due to high school graduation requirements being different in the school district he's in versus home, his slow progress with the drug/alcohol/anger management component of the program, and his problems with being consistent with modifying his behavior.
His PO wants to see more progress in all these areas before she sends him home. We know she's right, but it's hard. He would have been home this April had he gotten with the program instead of fighting it. Now, he's been gone for eight months and may have a couple more to go.
Other than that, we're trying to keep on with our own lives and have been reasonably successful in doing so. We still miss him, but having him gone isn't as painful as it was during the first few months.
Hey CAmom! I was reading thru and saw this post. Your son reminds me so much of mine I wanted to give my two cents.
I think your doing the right thing going along with po suggestions. If he is struggling with rules and finishing the program where he is now, he would certainly have a problem trying to live by them at home.
My son never got the fact that he had to live by the rules. He did just enough to be released back home and he would disappear into his lifestyle again within a couple of weeks of returning.
You are doing the hardest thing a mom can do ~ you are loving your son enough to do what is best for him.
Traci, thanks. I know this is best because, undoubtedly, if he's still having problems dealing with the various frustrations (authority figures, rules, etc.) in his current setting, he's going to have the same problems once he's home. He continues to think if he keeps trying to negotiate, he will convince people to do what he wants. This has obviously worked for him in the past but doesn't in his group home. You'd think, after eight months, he would give up. But, he can be a VERY persistent individual.
The one thing about my son that stays consistent is that he's a very "what you see is what you get" kind of person. If he thinks it, he says it. NOT always a very good idea, but, I'd much rather have him being honest about how he's feeling than doing the "brown-nose" thing to get himself released sooner and then coming right back home to his old ways.
It is good to know where he stands. Mine is a charmer that can convince you of anything.
There are so many triggers at home he will have to deal with that he doesn't have at the group home.
Take this time to become stronger. I always thought we were prepared when my difficult child came home, something always came up that caught me off guard.
The one thing you have no control over is him running into old buddies. It will happen, he has to be strong enough to walk away from them. My son would struggle to walk away but always ended up with the old group. Not good.
I'm sorry he's not coming home when you thought, but you don't want him coming home to soon and reverting back to his old ways. Let him continue to do what he needs to there and then his homecoming will be so much better.
I can see how his behavior in certain situations where he is correlates with similar situations that will undoubtedly occur once he's home. His responses are very closely looked at by the staff who report them to the program coordinator who summarizes for the probation officer. She, in turn, quite rightly, assumes that, if he loses his temper and starts using profanity with staff, he'll do the same thing once he's home. If he continues to be a "follower," i.e., letting himself be talked into stupid stunts like climbing out a window to go have a cig in the backyard, he'll have the same and perhaps even more serious problems once he's home. In fact, this sort of thing is what got him placed where he is to begin with!
So, I believe that, until he shows more maturity and growth, he's definitely better off where he is where professionals are helping him rather than back with us, especially since he'll be 18 in another month...
I am sorry that you've had to reach down so deep to get the
degree of understanding and acceptance that is necessary to survive this spance of time. Our boy did not learn the "real"
lesson from any of the three programs that we sent him to/had
him sent to. I think we were too late when we saw the light.
I do remember your family on a regular basis in my thoughts and
some times in my prayers. DDD
Well, DDD, I'm not all that certain my son has changed on any kind of significant level.
In fact, based on how he often interacts with his therapist, the house staff, and his program coordinator in his group home because he STILL thinks he should be able to run the show if he talks a good enough story, I can easily predict that, once he's home, he'll probably be fired from one or more jobs because of his endless negotiating and, when that fails, his temper tantrums. Of course, this will be the bosses fault--not his. I can also see the above scenario when it comes to following our house rules. Or living with a room mate/s, or, fill in the blank...
What I do believe he's learning is that the same consequences for breaking rules and laws applies to him as well as to others and that he could lose his job, friends, and even his freedom of choice if he decides to break them in the future.
I think our sons are the same person! Back when OJ's trial was going on, I used to say that my difficult child could out argue the Dream Team, hands down. I've also always said since the time difficult child began to talk that whatever goes in his head/brain comes out his lips. You're right - that's not always a good quality. lol.
My heart goes out to you. I know how worrisome it is wondering if they ever will truly get it.
CAMom, I'm really proud of you. You've gotten a good handle on your son. Don't be so sure he won't change though. If you interact differently with him now (not giving him all those perks and not giving in to him, even if he tries to guilt you out) he'll have to change his behavior towards you. He won't be able to quit his jobs if he needs the money, for example.
My daughter worked for Walmart from age sixteen up because we cut off her funds. We sat her down and told her that since she seemed to feel she could do what she wanted to do, then she would have to pay for her own "perks." We had to provide clothes so we offered to buy her a wide variety from garage sales and Good Will. Of course, she wanted nicer clothes so we shrugged and told her, "Get a job." Food? We provided three meals a day. Chips, junk food, McDonalds? "Get a job." For a while, she drove, but had to pay for her own insurance and gas. Maybe, in the long run this helped (we don't know for sure). Once she left home, and had to fend for herself (her choice--she had the choice of staying if she'd follow our rules and go to rehab), she decided she hated her life and wanted to change and she did. Motivation is a big deal with kids like this. They have to decide to change, we can't make them do it. But I'm positive that my daughter isn't the ONLY problem child who decided to change...lol. My daughter was WAY worse than your son. I need to keep feeding you nuggets of hope. Your son doesn't sound like an awful person or a bad kid. He seems to suffer from a bit of "I'm entitled" and some bad friends. My daughters peers were her biggest obstacle to getting straight. She had to move out of state in order to clean up her act (she moved to live with my straight arrow son who has a huge house, and very strict rules). The funny thing is, she looked up to her big brother so she followed HIS house rules where she disregarded ours, maybe because he's more of a peer. Look for possible relatives, in case your son needs to break away from his friends (just a suggestion). Talking to my daughter now (she has just turned 23), she tells me that several times she tried to get away from drugs, but her peers pressured her and she caved in. Peers can be powerful good or bad forces for young adults so living away from these losers really helped my daughter A LOT. At her age, we couldn't really totally stop her from associating with them while she lived with us. She would find a way. I'm rambling now...duhhhhhhh. I tend to do that...lol. I think you are on the right track. Have a good game plan for when he comes home. You're a great mom. He knows that too, even if he refuses to tell you that yet. One day HE WILL.
Midwest, I appreciate those "nuggets." It's good to read about others' success stories.
No, I don't believe my son is a bad kid. He's got good values and morals, but as with most people, drugs and alcohol loosen inhibitions, and I've always felt that most humans beings aren't all that far removed from neanderthals to begin with, so substances can blur that thin skin of civilization.
I know that we're going to have to take a hard line, once he gets home because he certainly does feel quite entitled. In the past, when he'd ask for money, and I'd ask him what he had done to deserve or earn it, he would grin and say, "Well, I'm breathing aren't I." Maybe I was mistaken in taking this as a joke...
I think he's quite aware that there are going to be changes because he regularly asks us to take certain clothes and shoes (which I've occasionally bought him at his request over the months he's been gone) home with us. I've been puzzled because, in each case, the items are unworn with the tags still on them. When I asked him about this, he told me that he knows that he's not going to have everything handed to him when he returns home so he's stockpiling now while he still can.
As you pointed out, the peer situation is probably going to be the most difficult. The good news is that almost every one of his friends is working and/or going off to college, so they won't have the free time they used to.
Thank you for the nice words. Actually, my son tells us very often that we're the best parents and wants us never to blame ourselves for his situation.
CAMom, you are way ahead of the game if he realizes this already :wink: I wish you were close by so I could hug ya. I'm really pulling for your family and hope your son decides his old friends are losers. YES, it can happen!!!! Take care :smile:
I agree with the others that what is going to make the most difference when he comes home, is that you have learned to react differently. He's young still and I think a lot of what he hasn't been capable of changing yet will come with maturity. Hopefully!!!
CaMom, it sure has been quite a journey hasn't it? As hard as it was to accept that was sent away, I know you know after reading other's posts/stories, that you got a sweet deal.
Your difficult child is learning alot. He may not be putting it all together yet, but he is learning. I betcha he surely will test those waters just to see how far he can get when he gets out. But the longer he stays the more time his brain has to grow and mature :smile:
I see a huge difference in my difficult child 2 whko will be 20 in August. Time is part of the key.
Please keep coming around and sharing your thoughts and concerns. You have alot of insight and experience.
Oh, I'll ABSOLUTELY be coming around. I know very well that, when our son returns home, this will simply be the beginning.
I feel much stronger than I used to, but, as I've said before, I think it's only the fact that my son is at a distance that I've been fairly successful in resisting many of his attempts to manipulate me. I'm not all that certain that it's going to be that easy when he's here, however.
But, as you said, Sunny, even though he may not be putting everything together, he IS learning. And, I have seen some signs of that. For example, he's taking a computer class which is required for graduation in the school district he's attending but wasn't at home. Thus, although he's proficient using various computer PROGRAMS, he isn't all that much so with actual computer operations. During our therapy session the other day, I suggested that he could easily learn the answers to the questions he read to me from his worksheet if he was actually sitting in front of a computer, and I offered (realizing right after I said it that it wouldn't be a good idea, given his circumstances) to send him a laptop. His response was, "Mom, I really don't think you sending me a laptop here would be appropriate." I thought, WOW, who are you and what have you done with my son?