RN, it would not surprise me if he has tried pot. I didn't find any evidence of dealing it in his snapchat, though.
We got the names of five programs, so today is all about researching and discussion with my husband.
Your boy sounds extremely similar to my own at that age. I’m in Canada...don’t know of any wilderness programs and likely couldn’t afford it if I did. My son is almost 17 now. Getting him to a psychiatric assessment would end up in a physical altercation between he and I. He’s not interested in solving any of his issues. He doesn’t even admit any wrong-doing of any sort. There were issues at a younger age - even at 8 or 9 he was causing us endless grief on a daily basis - but like your son, he had the ability to be very charming outside of his relations at home. None of his teachers ever indicated any big issues or anything. So I wrote off his behavior as a “phase” that he would grow out of. By 12 or 13 he was spending 3 or 4 nights a week at friends places and he was going to parties he found on instagram in seedy areas of town. Incredibly risky stuff. But if we tried to intervene, the shitstorm that would result was unimaginable! He literally does not back down. Never. We’d end up having these horrid screaming rage fests that would go on and on and just keep ramping up. The only way to dial it back down would be to back off and basically let him do whatever he wanted. Our household became his to rule...a 12 year old tyrant. We ended up divorcing and he lives with me basically because I can handle him a bit better than my ex wife, but at any moment I know things can come unglued.
Please consider starting your own thread to discuss your son's issues, so as not to detract from the original poster's need for feedback on their situations.
Next, I am going to be blunt and I am sorry if it is offensive, I do not mean it as such, but sometimes outsiders can see things we cannot.
Your son is a danger to himself and to you. He is violent, and you responding with violence in turn is not helping the situation to say the least.
You seem to have every excuse under the sun as to why help is impossible. It is only impossible if you make it so.
If you continue as is, you will end up in the newspapers as a tragic situation with one or both of you dead. In other words, things cannot continue as they are.
What are YOU going to do about it? Post here and seek sympathy from other parents of problem children? Wallow in your misery? I understand we all do that to a certain extent, but what ACTIONS are you going to take to improve your life and that of your children?
Canadian law in many ways is similar to US law. We also have members from Canada who hopefully will jump in with advice.
First, contact child protective services. Tell them your teenage son is violent and you are in fear of your safety with him in the home. Tell them he is mentally ill and refuses to seek psychiatric care. Tell them he cannot continue living with you as you are unable to provide him the care he needs as a mentally ill minor. Make them do their jobs and find him a group home or residential treatment center - or jail.
The next time he strikes you, call the police and immediately press charges. Tell them you want him taken to a hospital and evaluated for mental health issues. Don't do this yourself, make the police do it. That way if son lashes out it will be plain for all to see how sick he is.
Secondly, contact your ex wife and tell her you cannot handle him anymore. Perhaps you can take younger son and she can take older or if she is not willing to do this, once again CPS can get involved and find him a placement somewhere else.
Don't think it will necessarily be so easy to put him out at 18. He may have tenants' rights and you may have to forcibly evict him using the courts. For this reason as well as the others I have mentioned, seek legal advice.
Hi! I just wanted to update the board on our situation. Our educational consultant sent us the names of six programs and therapists. I checkout out the websites and eliminated two. I then spoke to the admissions directors for the other four. From that my husband and I eliminated another one. Then I went over the three programs with R's therapist, explaining what I thought were the differentiating aspects of each one. With his help I eliminated another one. Then I called three references for each of the remaining two. All of the parents I spoke to were very kind and knowledgeable about the programs/therapists. With that information my husband and I chose one.
It's all arranged with the program and the transport team. He will be picked up and escorted in the middle of next week. We are going out of town for Memorial Day weekend with my husband's family, which I think will be good as it will be keep us all busy. My son is actually treating us a little better, probably because we placing few demands on him and not confronting him about anything right now.
Since I last updated, we found another device--this time a kindle fire--and a vape pen hidden behind a poster in his room. We took them but did not confront him. He has received several shady messages on his old snapchat (the one I have access to). One was from a kid who said R needed to pay back the money he owed by last Friday. One offering to sell him a dab (which I think is a concentrated form of pot) for $50. A few asking to buy pods. So I am fairly certain he is still engaging in this behavior and has no intention of stopping.
Obviously it is a stressful time, but I am glad that everything is arranged and I am just counting down the days.
Faced with mind-boggling behavior from your son, you and your family are clear headed, doing all the right things and reinforcing your values and beliefs to your daughter - while at the same time setting up your son for a better future if he chooses it, by getting him help and refusing to turn a blind eye.
If my stepsons do not survive their struggles either literally or figuratively it will be due to their father's unwillingness to do exactly as you are doing now.
You are very brave and I hope you will continue to stick around here to help others. Your voice is needed.
We sent our son to wilderness therapy 3 years ago when he was 15. At the time we were deeply concerned about our son's behavior and felt that we had tried everything we could think of. He was on a path of self destruction and needed to step out of his life and have the time and space to do better for himself. Looking back now, the positives were that we as a family got to have a break from the chaos and regroup. We received really solid advice and counseling from the staff each week who were experts in dealing with teen boys with these types of problems. My son loved the outdoor living and freedom from cell phones, social media, peer pressure. He will now say those were some of the best days during those rough teen years. He was able to stay stable with school work because this program had school when he would have failed out if he stayed at home. He spend tons of time reading very deep thought provoking books. None of those would have happened if he stayed at home. His therapist told me later that we likely saved his life. The negatives were that it was not the end of his struggles. He came home and was ok for a short time but got right back on the path of where he had been. But I won't say it was a failure. We got about 5-6 months of peace and healing and although he was clearly not ready to change, he did seem to absorb and tuck away what he learned for the future. The program recommended therapeautic boarding school for the next step and every other kid went that way. We did not feel we could afford that and decided to have him come home. And coming home right back to the same environment was just too much. We just kept keeping on with all that we knew to help him. I view all of the "interventions" and things we did as pieces that eventually all came together and saved our son. Good luck to you and your son. I think you will find a good wilderness program provides support for the family that is priceless during this time.
On a side note, you may have mentioned this but is your son going willingly? I ask because this was a hot topic when my son was in the program. He went because he knew he really had no choice. I don't know what I would have done if he refused to go. BUT, many of the kids had a lot of trauma from being transported in the middle of the night with no knowledge of what was coming. Sometimes you have choice but wanted to throw that out there.
My son is 15 and very similar to yours in a lot of ways. I'm glad you have found a place that can help him and give you a break.
Remember that our adrenal systems suffer greatly when we are living like this, and it can make us sick. Try to find times in the day to relax, breathe, clear your mind... it's difficult, but our bodies and minds need it.
Hi guys! Thank you again for your support. Writing this all out is very therapeutic.
With regard to the questions of whether we have told him and the transport, we have not told him. When I was checking references, of the six families I talked to, four had used a transport service. They pretty much all reported that it was the thing they were most stressed about and it went smoothly for all of them. I got the name of the transport company from my educational consultant. The escorts are trained to diffuse tense situations, and they asked us a bunch of questions about R--what does he like, what does he hate, etc.. There's a script for parents to use to bring the men into his room--"R, we have decided to send you to X wilderness camp in X, and these two nice gentlemen, X and X, will be escorting you." Then I will go into our daughter's room. If R is calm, my husband can answer questions while R gets ready. If he is volatile, then my husband is supposed to go to another part of the house while they get him out. He doesn't need to pack anything. The transport service always has a plan B for getting the kids to the location--a different flight or even driving if necessary.
Part of me would like to tell him and talk to him about it, but remember that he is a flight risk as he has frequently left the house in the middle of the night. Also, I know from experience that my husband cannot deal with seeing his kids struggle with unhappiness--which is unfortunate because kids need to learn how to process and manage unhappiness--it's a life skill.
Yesterday I had what I would call a mild anxiety attack thinking about all of this, but in general I am hanging in.
I get that transport stress. Had it when we hospitalized son the first time, and then was arranging it a couple other times that we were on the verge of sending him back, also getting panic attacks from it. But I had the same experience as the other people, in the end it wasn't as bad as I had imagined. Definitely wine and pedicure <3
Best of luck sushi you must be feeling nervous. When I called the police on my son I was nearly sick! It's a horrible conflict of feelings and takes courage. Keep us posted as these wilderness things are not the done thing here and I would be really interested to hear how it goes.