Confused about transitioning

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, May 24, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, Ladies! I'm working on going on with my life and getting used to just having phone calls and weekly visits with difficult child. I think I'm ok with not having him at home and how he's doing right now. I cried out weeks ago so am just moving on from here, although I still worry about his future.

    Now, here's the problem. As you all know, there were big problems at home before he was incarcerated. The problems were his emotional state- from depression to aggression against me and the fact that I felt I couldn't help him because the PO stood in the way of everything I tried. I really felt that "they" in the system had convinced my son that they were in charge of him- and me- and he did not even see me as an authhority figure anymore.

    Currently, people are already talking to him about coming home upon his release. They clearly are doing this as a motivator to keep him on a good track while he's incarcerated. He's doing very well so far- no write-ups at all. But, I don't think he should come straight home. I don't see how he can ever function living with me again the way the people in the system go about things.

    When we visit or talk on the phone, all difficult child talks about is rambling on about what is going on in there. I understand his need to talk about all this, but I have a problem about everyone, including difficult child, just thinking he'll stay in until the day they unlock the door, then just come home like things are fine. Things weren't fine and will be worse then. We have no "real" parent/child relationship anymore. He makes his own choices and I have nothing to do with them. He doesn't listen to my input and all consequences are established and dished out by others.

    I DO understand that this is detachment and there is no other option and that I have no control over my child's decisions. Please do not repsond telling me that because I really do understand it and that is not my question or concern.

    My concern is how on earth can it ever be possible for difficult child to live at home again, at 15yo (when he gets released) and this be successful? I think I do need to think about it now because they are leading him to believe that this is what is going to happen and they will not do anything to prepare for anything else if I don't jump and yell now.

    I just don't see how once the parent and child has detached to the point that the kid doesn't see the parent as an authority figure anymore, they are completely on their own as far as what choices they make- like they are adults- and rules and consequences are established buy others, how can this be successful with them coming back home? I can't treat him like an adult child- he doesn't have the maturity and I am not going to see him that way. I see him as a distant child. We don't communicate about anything. I just sit and listen to him ramble. All he cares about are his peers and the authority figures.

    The only way I can mentally relate to it is by comparing it to when I left home then had to go back and spend a few weeks at my Mom's. Well, I understood that she had house rules I needed to comply with and of course, I needed to repsect her personally and her house. But, really, there was no way that I could view her as having authority over me the same as when I was younger. That's fine and understandable when a child has become an adult and is supporting themselves. But when it's still a kid who hasn't matured and really hasn't reached the point of being responsible for themselves, how on earth can that work?

    Ok- he's responsible for his choices, but legally, I'm still responsible for making sure he goes to school, any property damage he does, his physical and mental health, etc. Not only is it impossible for him to really take responsibility for himself at this age (monetarily, etc), he isn't mature enough to make his own decisions anyway. Am I supposed to ignore that and treat him like an adult child and just say "ok, just send me the bill" when I owe restitution for him? Am I supposed to just be here to provide for him, put meals on the table, transport him to wherever the parole officer says he's required to go, then shut-up about everything else? So, if he gets into drugs or refuses to go to school, I'm just here to turn him in for it? Other than that, we'll just have no relationship other than me listen to him ramble about his peers?

    Maybe that leaves everypone feeling like "well, that's what parents of teenagers do". It leaves me with a vision that makes me cringe. It makes me feel used by the system, hurt by difficult child, and resentful over the whole thing. If all this is between him and the people in the system now, then difficult child can figure out how to get himself trransported around and provided for on his own. Obviously, he can't do that. Then the system can find someone else to do it. That's just how I feel. The system says they have no funding to do anything differentl;y and they want the kid at home. BS. They want to find someone to do all this for the kid and then blame that person if the kid doesn't do well. They take the parent to court when it doesn't work. It won't work because difficult child knows that the system doesn't view the parent as an authority figure either.

    You know darned good and well if the kid is in a group home, the parole officer backs up the people running it. If the difficult child is at home, the people in the system view the guardian as part of the problem. At least that's the way it works around here. As loong as difficult child knows that- and he does know it- I don't see how this can work.

    Sorry for the long ramble. If anyone has read all this- have you ever even heard of this working? I jsut see it as being even worse than before if difficult child comes straight home upon release and I refuse to sit there for a year and lead this kid to believe that if he does what he should, this will happen.

    It's obvious by the things people are syaing to me and difficult child and the things difficult child himself says that this is the way things would be. difficult child's rules are established by the system- even after he comes home. If I have house rules and difficult child convinces the people in the system that they are silly, than I have to change them. It's not me in authority of my own house anymore. If I can't deal with difficult child, then I get ordered to do more- they won't do anything unless I have him arrested and incarcerated again. The more they make me change, the less authority difficult child sees me have, the less respectful he is of me and the more he takes advantage. difficult child knows I don't want that solution so he pushes the limits as far as possible. They expect me to secure things at home the way a prison or psychiatric hospital does- that's impossible. They expect me to make gffg tow the line-HA- when they sit there and cave everytime difficult child complains and make me change? This is the way it was before and it will be worse next year. It just leaves a sick feeling in my stomach.
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have to say I would be worried about the same thing if I were in your shoes. I have not EVER heard of a situation like yours, so I don't know if the current plan to send difficult child home after his sentence is up will work.

    I don't think it will work unless you have a parole/probation officer who will just BACK UP your rules. It is highly unlikely that this will happen, based upon your dealings with "the system" up to now.

    I would be discussing this with MY therapist if I was in your shoes.

    I am sorry all difficult child does it ramble about what is going on. It does not seem likely he will come to "own" his problems and behaviors while he is in juvy.

    No suggestions, but a hug and my support.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Susie. difficult child talks to me in a respectful way, pretty much. I mean he doesn't talk down to me or sound angry at all. He says very nice things. But if I try to talk about anything he asks me to please just listen to him, then he goes right on with the rambling. That being said, he blows off any advice or reminder to respect my wishes. For instance, I don't allow him to curse and I keep my cursing out at home. We both occasionally slip with a "da**" if we drop something on a toe and I let that slide, but don't allow filthy language or cursing as a general rule. He can get by with it while incarcerated so he goes right on doing it. difficult child mailed home a list of games he has heard about that he wants to get when he gets out and asked me to keep it for him. Half the things on the list are things he knows I would never let him have.

    To throw out a little vent about the system people- the parole officer got copies of all difficult child's evaluation stuff they did during processing. This was educational and psychiatric and recommended treatment (behavior and mental health) supposedly. I can't get copies of this stuff. They seriously view the parent the same as they do a "subject person" who just has to take what they decide. difficult child has more right to know what he's dealing with than I do. difficult child can refuse to take his medications. No one is reviewing his medications. They have a psychiatrist who does nothing but continue to write rx's difficult child has been on.

    Then, I found out that the sd difficult child had been in (the regular public school) that was supposed to do his triennial review starting in Jan but never did only sent a form to the Department of Juvenile Justice that said I refused to sign agreement for the re-evaluation at the meeting in Jan. I did not sign it at the meeting, that is true, but I did sign it and mail it back with an attachment about a week later. They didn't forward that info. I had asked in my attached letter that a more extensive evaluation be done because their proposed one was not enough to determine how the disability effected the education and what accommodations were necessary. The sd never did any. Then, they also sent Department of Juvenile Justice a letter stating that they determined that difficult child was still qualified for an IEP in March. Yes I want him on an IEP- but wwhat team decided this and why wasn't I informed, much less invited to the meeting?

    I had sent copies of all this- with my attached letter and so forth to Department of Juvenile Justice processing but, as typical, the stuff I sent never get looked at so this lady telling me about the sd stuff seemed to have no idea what my input was- or that I had any input. She was under the impression that I had just refused it. They all are like that- they don't care about what the parent has to say or contribute then will be the first ones to claim the parent witheld info.

    This is just typical of people in the system around here- they want to completely cut the parent out of the loop and just do what they want. That would be fine if they really had the kid's best interest in mind and kept up with everythhing but they don't. The left hand never knows what the right hand is doing.

    There's supposed to be a meeting next week about difficult child's "treatment" plan. Mind you, their idea of mental health treatment is pure behavior mod- nothing about anxiety, depression, etc. Nothing about bipolar or a mood disorder, yet they are keeping him on medications for this stuff with no one evaluation'ing it. This meeting should prove interesting.

    One thing that appears to have worked out well, at least so far- that show cause complaint that the GAL filed against me seems to have disappeared. (That will probably jinx it back into an issue. LOL!)
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I thought about this a lot after I read it.

    If it were me, and I was dealing with a child who'd been in so much trouble he was now in juvy, I would warn him (whether he liked it or not) that, no matter what he hears, I am not at all sure he can come home. When he blasted me, I'd calmly tell him I'm thinking of all options, including foster care.

    I don't really keep up on stories of everyone here because there are too many people. So I don't know your particular story--sorry :tongue:. But if he was a drug user/violent/out-of-control--at fifteen, he is probably big and strong. There is no way I'd allow him to just come home. I'm not sure I'd want him back home at all. My daughter acted bipolar while she was using drugs. In fact, now that she is clean, I can see that she was, simply put, a drug addict. And if your son is using drugs, that could be why he has his diagnosis. Or he may have it and be self-medicating, HOWEVER you don't HAVE to self-medicate with bipolar. I don't. That is his decision, and it will continue to make him sick and dangerous. (Sorry if drug use isn't his problme--I'm assuming drug use is how he got where he's at)

    I believe it's within your rights to request foster care for him or Residential Treatment Center (RTC). You deserve to be safe and at peace, in spite of his choices. (((Hugs))) and good luck.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think you're right to be concerned. It really does sound like all that's happening is a pause. Nothing seems to be getting put in place to re-train him and teach him to manage his own behaviour, let alone help him medically.

    You havew time, I agree with you that now is not to be a time for sitting on your hands. You need to make them keep you in the loop. Not sure how, apart from constantly pestering them for information as well as answers to questions like, "What is being put in place in order to ensure our rules can be enforced when he gets out? As things are now, he beleives he is coming home and he will be able to do exactly what he wants. This has NEVER been the case, which is why we are where we are now. We have an opportunity here to ensure something positive comes out of this. Please tell me - what do I need to do, to liaise with your plans for his future?"

    And keep insisting on an answer. In writing. I would also let them know, in writing, of any inconsistency in information they have been getting (such as you alleged refusal to sign off on the IEP at the school). Everything incorrect - clarify/correct in writing. Whenever they continue to get it wrong - clarify in writing again. Also if they keep getting it wrong, clarify it AND ask for a letter back from them explainng how repeated clarifications are not making it into the files. Keep putting this in writing, minute phone calls and then follow up the phone call with a letter outlining what you discussed. You have to keep nagging in writing. While you do know how to detach (I'm certainly not going to tell you that!) you have to at the same time, keep nagging politely in writing, insisting that the records be straightened out and that you be kept in the loop. Every time, every incorrect thing, every omission. Thank the lord for word processors!

    As for difficult child - you need to keep telling him, even if you have to do it in a letter, that if/when he comes home, there will be rules and it won't be all a lovely holiday with servants laid on. The sooner he takes this on board, the sooner he can begin to REALLY work towards your common goal.

    You have your head screwed on right over this, you can see the oncoming train. But I think you need help and support (I am sure you see this too) and somehow, you need to find ways to make this happen.

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I thought the plan called for you guys to have joint counseling for months before he is discharged. If so, you can address each issue. Also I think you met with his parole officer who told you he would be in close touch and available. Those two issues should be of help in lessening your fears.

    Have you written down a basic list of what rules are imperative? With teens (yes, lol, I know you don't want to hear it) less is more. Teens who have been exposed to a "rawer" life style will not go back to choirboy status...even if they originated that way. If you put a bunch of males together in a confined space (particularly adolescents) they are going to be more vulgar than a bunch of guys at a Batchelor Party. After a year or more of using four letter words and discussing vulgar issues the transition to the home will be hard. If they were willing to place him in a group home....the transition to your home would likely be impossible. There is an instiutionalization that takes place. Foster children, for example, cluster with other foster children when they are in facilities. They share a commonality that children who were raised in private homes usually do not grasp.

    It's great that you are making progress in finding yourself. It appears you are less anxious and over concerned about issues that you can no longer control. Those are positive steps. in my humble opinion now is not the time to think about saying "my kid can not come home" or "my kid can only come home if he can follow these ten rules" or or or. Your kid is not at home now. He is adapting to his new environment and following a bunch of rules that are not fun and not optional. He is being punished. He is getting (or will be) counseling. Perhaps dreaming of "coming home" is all that makes it work for him right now. He is changing. You are changing. When the time comes to make a choice it will be a choice made by a more mature Mom who is comfortable with herself. The process can't be rushed. DDD
  7. maril

    maril New Member

    klmno: I would like to add my support; many hugs to you. I can imagine it would be very difficult to have to face this on your own as a single parent. It would be disheartening to realize that the system doesn't respect your input and that your son observes this; it undermines you.

    "There's supposed to be a meeting next week about difficult child's "treatment" plan. Mind you, their idea of mental health treatment is pure behavior mod- nothing about anxiety, depression, etc. Nothing about bipolar or a mood disorder, yet they are keeping him on medications for this stuff with no one evaluation'ing it. This meeting should prove interesting." Can you push at this meeting to get a comprehensive plan for aftercare that will support what you as his parent would like to do to help keep things on an even keel and to have a safety net for you for when he comes home?

    I am not in a position to advise. I would just like to share that a lot of the "what if's" ran through my mind, too, when my difficult child was still inpatient (recently discharged), but, so far, the aftercare plan and support he receives seem to be going along fairly well; plus he is now willing to comply/would never have been prior to hospitalization (he does not want to face re-entering a facility; we have a PO to back us up with the aftercare, too; so far, so good). My difficult child does not have the out of control raging and threatening behavior now that he is substance-free; however, one of his diagnosis is mood disorder, he is not presently medicated, and we have to be watchful/on our toes as we were before (examples -- prior to hospitalization, either locked up or had hidden kitchen knives, money, house and car keys, hunting guns, etc., and then continued with the lockup once he came home) even though there have been no issues/he has been stable since arriving at home.

    My son is pretty close to 18 and has been reminded by counselors, police officers, and us how it will be a different game legally once he is 18; he also has been told we can send him on his merry way and will no longer be responsible for him. I realize you still have a while yet to go until your son turns 18 and you are responsible for him legally; you have a lot to deal with as a parent.

    I hope someone out there in the system will step up and be more supportive of you. Hang in there.

    I also would like to add that information you had given me earlier this year, support, and advice have been very helpful, and thank you for reaching out to me! I wish I could be as helpful for you but am not greatly experienced. Take care.
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    I don't have anything to add except do keep the therapist in the loop and continue brainstorming with the powers that be. This sure does feel like one of those impossible situations that require a leap of faith to get through. I will pray that each day the solution for navigating through it is revealed to you.

    Try to take time to nurture your spirit every day.

    Love and Hugs,

  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Please forgive me if I'm being repetitive as I haven't read all of the above posts.

    Saying that, when wm arrived home from his MITH home after the one parent died we gave him a set of rules......if he stepped out of line or crossed "our line in the sand" he was back into treatment. However, I have an extremely supportive mental health team that backed husband & my every decision. Of course, we had to work with the team as well ~ it's been very hand in hand.

    I'd let difficult child know his line in the sand; inform PO first & ask him to back you on this. This really is a no brainer & PO doesn't want difficult child back in the "system" ~ it goes against his budget. Talk money, budget constraints, it may help.

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your difficult child is going to be in intensive behavior mod. He is going to learn (or should learn) self control. They will attempt to instill in him the desire to listen respectfully to his elders and authority figures. You are one of those people. The system is another. While he may not come out expecting to obey rules that are meant for toddlers, he will expect age appropriate rules....ones that you and his PO set down. I wouldnt load him down with rules. I think things like curfew, school and the 10 commandments would be cover it. He will probably have set meetings with the PO. This is good. Also get him in some sort of activities. I dont care what it is, he needs something with weekly contact with other kids.

    Most 15 year olds are aliens, not just ones coming out of juvy.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks all- I'll see how this meeting goes. I was unaware of it until I got a letter in the mail last week and frankly, was surprised that I'm allowed to attend. While he was in processing last month, they had meetings and did evaluation's and assessments without my involvement and would have not had half the info regarding mental health if I hadn't taken initiative to call them and mail stuff to them. Still, I don't think they read it.

    The goal for us to be in therapy together has been my goal, with recommendations from previous mental health providers. It has not been even mentioned as a goal by anyone in Department of Juvenile Justice to this point. The parole officer had said maybe we could do that after difficult child comes home- my stance is that he isn't coming home if it's not done before hand. My therapist had said this too. They (in Department of Juvenile Justice) keep throwing out reminders that they are not a mental health care facility and not to expect that from them. difficult child has not had a therapist assigned yet. He has a person called a couselor but she is a cm and does not counsel. Really, she only keeps his Department of Juvenile Justice records compiled. I'll see how this goes next week - the parole officer won't be there so I'm not so sure there is as much coordination between him and the people in Department of Juvenile Justice as I'd hoped. He has already shown me that he doesn't care about hearing difficult child's history or problems at home from me and that is not a good sign.

    The jest of what I'm hearing so far is that the therapist will be doing beh mod- nothing else- as Janet suggests. The parole officer is supposed to call me once a month and see me every 3 mos just to touch base. He is definitely not there as a resource for me.

    As far as rules when difficult child is living at home- the first time difficult child was on probation he had a great PO and she was VERY supportive of me as a parent. She was willing to discuss things with me over the phone when difficult child wasn't around so we could come to agreement then support each other in front of difficult child. The PO he had the past 2 years was not willing to do that. So, I approached this by telling difficult child he had to do the stricter of the rules laid down by me and PO. The the PO started undermining that by telling difficult child and me together that I should change those rules. Those were rules already "blessed" by the mental health providers.

    They do need to know now that they shouldn't bank on me allowing difficult child to come home when they unlock the door. If they accept this now, they can line up something else with crime prevention/Department of Juvenile Justice funds- waiting lists included. If not, what they do is tell the parent the day the kid is released and the parent either has to turn the kid over to dss or they turn the kid over as being abandoned. In either case, difficult child would go to my bro. DSS does not send kids to foster care or group homes if they can get a family member to take him/her. I was told this by the parole officer and others in the system so it's not just my speculation.

    MWM- difficult child hadn't been doing illegal drugs, as of yet. I do see signs in him that he will try to self-medicate and start them if something doesn't change. He was smoking cigs and trying to "alter" his moods with sugar intake- or whatever you want to call it. If he was truly manic in those phases, he would be compulsive with sugary foods and sodas. He said his medications didn't help- several combos were tried to no avail.

    He's incarcerated for putting a knife at my neck and demanding cigs from me. He's in Department of Juvenile Justice with a guy committed for a very long time for stabbinmg his grandmother to death.

    DDD- what you're saying is what Department of Juvenile Justice claims they have as an objective. The prolem is that they really don't do things to meet that goal. It's written on the website and so forth- just like sd's claim to care for kids' educations so much. What they do ITRW falls short of amking that happen in most cases.
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You really need to think long and hard about what it means to say you wont let him home when he is released. They can, and most likely will, charge you with abandonment. Is your son really that out of control? How do you know now that he will be when his time is served? A whole hell of a lot can change between now and then. I dont think I could turn my kid over to DSS before at least trying it at home to see if any of what has been tried at juvy at changed him.

    He is on medications at this time and they are doing behavior mod. That could be the change he needed. We wont know until the year is up.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You're absolutely right. They claim they have objectives. For the most part the objective is to keep kids off the streets and prevent them from injuring eah other severely while they are inmates.

    They don't care that Johnny was molested when he was 5 and 9 and 12. They don't care that Matt slept in the back seat of a vacant car. They have no interest in rehabilitating a family in distress. That is not their job.

    They take what the Court gives them and do the best job they can do with the resources they have. If you anticipate anything more from them you are going to be disappointed.

    If you are lucky, your son will learn some positive lessons while he is there. The main thing he will likely learn is that he does not like being locked up in a cell, a yard, a room. An appreciation for freedom is a common positive result. If you are really lucky he will dream of coming home and living peacefully with his Mom and his dog.

    You have got to find the right therapist to help you come to peace with your life. It's not what you wanted it to be. Many of us still can't believe we are living nontraditional lives. in my humble opinion you need to have specialized help to overcome the fear inspired by your victimization. I know they have specially trained victim advocates. If they do anything to prepare your son then that is great. If they do nothing? Well, either you have found a way for you all to try family living or you decide you can't do it. Either decision is premature's all too raw for both of you.

    I can not imagine how hard it is. You are a smart cookie (with a few crumbled edges at the moment, lol) and deep in your heart you know "they" are not going to do what you want them to do. The ball is in your court. DDD
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It's my understanding that they develop this "plan" now that includes and outlines what difficult child has to do while incarcerated and tentatively what to expect upon release. (The part about what the parole officer requires upon release is subject to change.) Anyway, that typically means that the kid goes home if the parent agrees to it. I'm not so sure that if the parent doesn't agree to that, that it means an abandonment charge. To me, it means the parent is not in agreement with the kid coming straight home and even the parole officer said this was an option and the they try to reunify as soon as possible. (He also told me a bunch of stuff about waiting lists and so forth to make surre I signed that tentative "plan" last month, which I did, but I shouldn't have.) I think making this happen requires getting Department of Juvenile Justice to agree that it is not a good idea for the kid to go straight home- that the kid will need a transitional period. The kid does not go to dss in these cases because it is still Department of Juvenile Justice funding things. It's like going to a half-way house. This is what I'm going to discuss with them- maybe it would help if I took some photos of the damage he did to the house.

    Now, if that is NOT established in this Department of Juvenile Justice "plan" that they are laying out now, and they go on as if the parent is picking this kid up when the gate is unlocked, then the parent doesn't pick the kid up- that is turned over to dss for abandonment. That is why I am pushing to change the plan now- to make sure it does not get to that point.

    They can't accuse me of abandoning him while he's incarcerated as long as I visit, call, and/or write and I'm doing all of the above. I am telling difficult child, though, that I am not convinced that him coming straight home will give him the best opportunity for making sure he never gets into legal trouble again.

    I'm in agreement with a couple of tdocs/psychiatrists who saw difficult child about how effective this will be for him- and that is it won't be efrfective. difficult child is one who insterad of learning his lesson when a punishment gets harsher, it then serves to require that form of punishment almost always in the future before he'll quit pushing limits again. But this didn't all get to this point bby pushing limits exactly. His self-control was spiraling out of control in ways that effected all his life- not just illegal behavior. I honestly do not believe that coming back to more of the same is the answer for this kid. Just like it got mentioned that kids get into the foster care system, then always identify with that- that happens with kids in Department of Juvenile Justice, too, and everything in me tells me this is difficult child's future unless this "plan" changes- then that only gives difficult child a better shot, it will still be up to him, of course.
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Just from knowing you as well as I do from you story and posts - I think difficult child cannot be allowed to come back home. That is just my gut reaction - and it is a strong one. You need to tell the legal counsel, mental counsel, that coming home is not an option. Period. And see where they go from there. My guess is that they will try and find a therapeutic foster setting - which is exactly the step down that your difficult child needs. Your difficult child will get violent again with you if he comes home - and you cannot allow that for your sake or his.

  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks Steely! I won't go so far to say he can never come back- I just want adequate supports for him and me in place when/if he does. That can't happen if no one can agree on what they are. If adults have a hard time making it in mainstream without a transitional period after release from incarceration, then I don't think there's a chance in the world difficult child can do it. I don;'t call parole a transition when it's basicly the same carp he had on probation before he went in- we see how well that worked, huh?