difficult child age 15 headed for trouble how to avoid it your advice please

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Carolyn9595, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Carolyn9595

    Carolyn9595 Guest

    Hi I so value your advice since you all are a bit ahead of me. difficult child is not using drugs nor having sex, thankfully. He is defiant, coming home at 8pm instead of 6pm. Stealing from me and lying about it. I now have a little lock on my purse. The usual litany of ODD behavior. We are baffled about how to discipline him. Take his beloved shoes? Take his furniture? He has no phone now or ipod. He is 15 and 6'2 and has a commanding deep sargeant's voice that he loves to use to say NO MAN! GET OFF ME! GET OUT OF MY FACE! My husband yells at him alot. He yells back.
    What I want to know is this: What advice would you give me to keep us from going down what I call "the dark road"? He refuses to get in the car to go back to counseling. Is there something I can say that will wake him to what lies ahead? Send him somewhere? How can we get him to want to change his life before we are talking addiction and court dates? When we feel so angry, I tell my husband "these are the good days" because it could be worse. Thanks.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Well, if you really want to go that route, a lot of police departments have or can arrange a "scared straight" kind of thing. Obviously yelling isn't working, time to try something else. Has anyone pointed you towards Ross Greene's books yet?
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    just curious how you know he is not using drugs? Has he always been this way or is there any new behavior? The reason I ask is the behavior he is exhibiting is often true with kids who are using.... and I think often parents are the last to know about any drug use. Unfortunately I speak from experience here. One thing I did when my son was 14 and he seemed tired a lot etc. was I told him we needed to check for things like anemia and I took him to the doctor. I told the doctor my concerns about his symptoms and the doctor took me aside and asked for permission to drug test him. The the doctor called difficult child and told me difficult child did not want me to know the results.... of course then I knew so I confronted difficult child and that is how I found out that in fact he had been smoking a lot of pot and as it came out he had been doing this for several months. So one suggestion is to take him in for a physical, call the doctor ahead of time and ask if they can include in that a drug test. Then you will know for sure.

    So in either case, but assuming he is not using drugs, is there a youth officer in your local police department? I would call them and find out. If there is I would talk to him or her and ask them for advice. The youth officer usually spends a lot of time at the high school and knows the kids and what is going on. Hopefully anyways. I would talk to him and ask for suggestions and sometimes they will talk to the kid and let him know the path he is on.

    Good luck.
  4. GB_42_XYZ

    GB_42_XYZ Member

    My kid sounds like yours but mine has gone further down "the dark road".
    I would take action now before he gets too far out of control. I don't really know what actions need to be taken, but I think it would be a great deal easier than letting it continue until you have absolutely no control (that's where I'm at).

    If I had to do it all over again I would have sent my son to a private boarding school while he was still in junior high. We sent him to Hyde School (CT) for about 3 months. Given time that may have turned things around, but I believe he was too far gone. He continued to screw up and got kicked out, so we are back at home and in public school.
    Good luck.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think he probably is taking drugs or at least drinking heavily and he's just good at hiding it. Stealing is a big clue. JMO
  6. Carolyn9595

    Carolyn9595 Guest

    First, thank you for replying to my plea! I so value your advice! I do need to say that his behavior has not changed per se only that being a teenager has made it worse. He has been stealing an lying since he was in 4th grade. He stole his father's entire coin collection in 4th grade and gave his friends "hush money" that he stole to keep them from telling on him when he was giving the coins away. My husband made the mistake of showing him the collection and telling him how precious the coin were to him. They were his only treasure. They are gone now as are the Confederate bills. In 5th grade, he stole a cell phone and threw it in the yard when they were parking the car. He actually planted the evidence so he dad would see him "finding" the phone in our yard. And let's not even talk about my jewelry. My son is adopted and I attribute the bio dad's genes for this because we have always worked hard to instill good values in him but he does the opposite despite us. For years I called him Captain NO from the Opposite Planet.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If he isn't using drugs or drinking now he probably will be soon. My difficult child is adopted, we tried to instill good values to no avail. She came into the world with a lot of baggage to overcome and environment just cannot overcome genes. I have seen this same scenerio over and over again, almost exclusively with adopted children.

    Our difficult child stole from very early on, she had lied ever since she was able to talk. We use to think she had no morals at all, that is still in question although circumstances of late give us hope. We took her to every doctor, therapist, counselor we could and spent thousands on getting her help. It wasn't until she started drinking and using drugs and ended up in rehab that finally we had some answers. It was almost like she was a drug addict and alcoholic from birth and until she went into recovery nothing would help.

    Our adopted difficult child's have a lot of issues they are dealing with from abandonment to low self esteem. We think and are told that if we give them a good home everything will be ok. I just talked to another friend of mine that I saw when I was getting my hair done the other day. They adopted their son about the same time we adopted our daughter, and from the same agency. Their story is just like ours, anger issues, failing school, multiple police interventions from fights at home, pot smoking, drinking. He is now 20, still lives at home and has no goals in life. They are good parents, great parents in fact. I can't tell you how many stories I know just like this, and just from our circle of aquaintences. We all went into adoption with the same hopes and dreams and now, twenty years later most of us have been brought to our knees with issues we couldn't understand and had no experience or knowledge of how to help. Just last month a very good friend and ex neighbor's adopted daughter was arrested for drugs and is now in a drug program ordered by court. They too are wonderful parents. These kids all know each other, live in the same community, go to schools near each other. It is not a coincidence that we are all living the same nightmare.

    Our kids need help, we need help. It cost us our life savings just to get through the past 19 years and it cost us much more in substance abuse treatment that was not covered by insurance. The good thing is that for now our daughter is 100 days clean and sober and her life is starting to turn around.

    I wish I knew what to tell you that would help. Sadly I don't think there is much you can do until he hits bottom, and your family will go through a rough ride waiting for that to happen. We now have an excellent therapist who understand addiction and adoption. Would yoour son agree to counseling?

  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Nancy, once again your situation and mine sound so similar except you have a daughter and I have a son! The lying and stealing started very early with our son as well and we never could really get a handle on it. And what you say about adoption issues are so true. You think, especially when you get a child as an infant, that love and care and a good environment is what really matters. Of course it does matter as I sometimes think gee what would have happened to my difficult child ifi he had spent his early life in foster care.... that would have been an utter disaster. BUT really I don't think we know enough about the role of genetics in personality development..... I am just so convinced at this part that they play a much bigger role than previously thought. I really think some of my sons issues are due to his wiring. I also have a daughter who is easy as they come and a very together young women (age 15). She was also adopted but she was easy from the get go and actually helped me realize that my sons behavior was not all my fault, was not just due to my parenting. I am thankful for this because it really helped me to see it was not all me.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    toughlovin, yes our situations are so very similar that when I read your post I think I am reading my own. I too have an older daughter that is a breeze and has never given us any trouble. We parented both kids the same, exposed them to the same activities and opportunities in life. Our easy child went down one path and difficult child went down another. easy child was born with morals, they were enhanced along the way by her environment, but she was born that way. She wouldn't take something that wasn't hers for anything in the world. And she feels guilty if she says or does anything that hurts anyone. They couldn't be more different, opposite ends of the spectrum. We naively thought that environment meant everything and we could overcome anything.

    It was so hard for me along the way because it seemed like nothing we did made any difference to difficult child or the way she behaved. It was like we had no impact on her whatsoever. We asked ourselves if we did her any good by adopting her and several of her therapists told us that she would have been much worse off if we hadn't. They told us that while we think we didn't make a difference it was probably the only thing that has kept her alive and out of worse trouble and that she would surely be living on the streets by now. I hang onto that and hope that when she is older some of the values we have tried to teach her kick in and she is able to have a much better life.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Yes Nancy when I read your posts i often feel the same way, they could be miine. I made a comment to my sons therapist years ago that I wonder what would have happened if he had ended up in foster care and his response was it would have been catastrophic.... he would be dead or in jail. Well our son did end up in jail for a short time but I do think some of what he got from us made him realize that is not the life he wants to lead. Anyway I think in a sense we have been a protective factor, he did get some values, ideas, etc from us that are helping him along the way but it was not enough to totally counteract whatever his wiring for trouble is. My hope is that as he gets sober and is thinking more clearly what we have taught him will kick in more and more.

    It is funny if my daughter had been my first I would have been one of those smug parents who just thought I was the greatest mom in the world and this is how you parent...... but we had my son first and I would meet those smug parents who would tell me how to do it and what they said never worked with him. My therapist has told me of a study they did on mothers and infants where they measured how easy or hard the infants were to care for and then measured the mothers perceptions of themselves. The mothers with infants who were more difficult to soothe questioned their mothering a great deal more than those mothers who had easier infants to soothe. I think that is so true. We judge ourselves (and others do too) on how well our kids are doing and yet some kids just naturally do well and other kids naturally are more likely to have problems. Kids do not come into this world a blank slate that we then get to work on.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do believe we have had a great impact on our difficult children. I have come to realize we have been a stablizing force in her life. During a particularly difficult defiant stage in her life her therapist told her that we adopted her but she never adopted us and until she does that her life will be out of control and she will be searching for answers. I truly think she has now adopted us. During her rehab we saw a transformation come over her with regard to her feelings toward us. Through the parent program she had the opportunity to express how she felt about us and for the first time in 19 years I felt as though she really understood that she was a permanent part of our family and we would do anything for her and that we were not going to abandon her but that we were not going to watch her kill herself any longer either and it was up to her to change. She was finally open to see the love and support that was hers all along but she was blocking by being the victim, the poor adopted child that no one understood. I believe she now sees herself and us differently and truly wants to be part of our family.

    The rehab counselor told us over and over again that while they are using they cannot see anything other than where their next drink/drug is coming from. When they are clean they are finally open to seeing things more clearly. What just amazes me is that we have had serious issues with her long before she started drinking and using pot. We were terrified that she would stop drinking but the behaviors would all still be there. That is still a very valid concern, but what amazes me is that with recovery many of those issues are resolving. She is no longer defiant and abusive toward us. I know that could change in a moment but it appears as though recovery was what she needed all along, from the very beginning. Does that make sense? And that alcohol and drugs were the catalyst for her to begin to rewire the faulty wiring in her brain. It's just fascinating to watch and I know that next week it could all fall apart, but it tells me that there is hope and she isn't destined to live the life her bm is still living. I guess for me here is the best example that we have made a difference. Her bm did the same things she has done but much earlier and is still living a life of dysfunction. She had been in rehab twice before the age of 14, difficult child didn't go until 19. She has had two failed marriages and her home foreclosed and was living in a shelter until a friend took her in. difficult child is in much better shape at 19 than her bm was at that age. We couldn't stop the course her life took for the most part, but we slowed it down and got her the interventions that hopefully will turn it around. I think perhaps that is the difference.

  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Yes to all you are saying. My son recently texted me that the counselor there said it was time for a family conference. YES. Plus my daughter has written her brother a letter that I am sure will stir some things up. So I am hoping that in the process of recovery that we will some how break through the wall that our son has put up between us. I know it may take time but I am hopeful.... and of course a lot of it is up to him. I do think he knows we love him but I think there are a whole lot of other feelings there too. I know his therapist here once told him or asked him if his anger at me was really anger at his birth mother? My son thought that might be true. So we shall see. I do believe that at least some of my sons issues are adoption issues.

    I know I am doing a lot better and feeling a lot better now that my son is in rehab....at least I know he is safe. I am nervous about what happens next but at least for now I can relax and follow his and the programs lead. It just feels good to be able to regroup, connect with my daughter and husband and to feel peace at home.
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Amen to that!!!

    We left some of our family conference days in tears. Things were said in there that we didn't want to remember or deal with. Our counselor told us not to told back, that this was the place to deal with all that garbage. The day after they would process it in group and hopefully they would learn how to deal with the truth and move forward.

    I read that most adoptees displace the anger they have toward their birthmother onto their adoptive mothers. The fathers are immune to such issues since they don't recognize the father's role at an early age. I think my difficult child thought I stole her from her birthmother and that my husband was really her biological father.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I hope that happens with us... I just kind of want to get it all out on the table honestly. Of course that tends to be my style but I realize that right now i need to let him be his journey and follow his and the programs lead. That tends to be hard for me to do but until he is ready and willing to deal with stuff it won't do any good for me to forge ahead.

    It is interesting that a lot of adoptees put their anger towards their birthmother onto their adoptive mom....guess that is oen more thing as moms we have to deal with.
  15. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I just want to say that it is not only in adoptions, either. My difficult child is biologically mine and has had the same exact problems her entire life. She, too, started lying and stealing from the moment she could walk and talk. I think it is in the wiring of the brains. I also have a son that is totally easy child - always has been complete opposite of difficult child, yet they both came from me.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes of course you are right PatriotsGirl. What I really meant was that we see this so often in friends who have adopted, there is a much higher percentage of these problems in that population. And I do believe it's in the wiring in their brain.

  17. Jel

    Jel Guest

    Hi! I'm a single mom of an 18 year old son. I can empathize with you!!! My son is mine and he and I could not be more different! He did drink and smokes and yes he has tried "spice" a pot like substance, he was caught by the police smoking and it was a turning point in our life. It was the best thing that ever happened to him! Now he is focusing his life on going to college and "making a life for himself'. Yes girls get in the way at times. I have some firm rules......1. No sleepovers at a buddies house (that's when the most trouble happens) 2. Nothing of his is "private" I check computer stuff, cell phone calls and text messages 3. If rules are broken I take the car away, the cell phone away and computer. (x box falls in this too!) don't give them money and hide what you have! Now when this happens you must be strong. They will scream and say we are ruining their life!!! Most of the times I do this and "stick to my guns" it's VERY difficult while it's happening but he's over it in a day or two and we actually seem closer! Trust me my boy gets detention monthly at school and I have most recently caught him and his buddies going to strip clubs!!!! I have had to be really hard on him. But it's working!!! Hang in there. This is going to sound funny.....post a question about a difficult situation about you and your son on Facebook. Most responses from people will mirror yours and he will be more convinced by other peoples opinions then moms. Trust me it's working! I really need a vacation!