difficult child is "the worst", again

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Steely, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    difficult child had a violent episode in his group home a month ago. He has worked hard to get out of the psychiatric hospital, and to have the group home agree to take him back. But now his residency there, seems to have come at the cost of hanging this episode over his head.

    The house director called me Friday, and told me that "he is inconsistent at best." I told him that he really had a lot on his plate this week; transitioning back into the home - out of the blue, with-out prep being told he would not see his family at cmas - having kids cuss and yell at him for being back at the home. The director replied, "well, it will take us all awhile to trust him. We have had a lot of troubled kids here, but I have never had one that has done this much damage or been that destructive. He has a lot of trust building to do with everyone."

    My heart just seemed to have another hole poked in it. I guess I was under the assumption that this home would accept him back assuming the best, not the worst. Matt will live up to whatever expectation is placed before him.

    And to hear, once again, that my kid is the worst they have seen - geez - the times are too numerous to remember. (And who tells a parent that anyway - how freaking mean.)

    I am such a mess. I had nightmares all night about everything. One including that H came back for a day to visit. Even though she was dead, she came to visit. I hugged her in the dream and cried, and cried. Then the nightmare switched to difficult child and having dr after dr tell me how horrible he is.

    I am at the end here folks. The very, very end. Where is the hope with this, if the group home does not even impart it to me or Matt.
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I don't know what to say, other than to give gentle hugs. Come here to vent, to cry or laugh. Whatever you need to do. I hope you get some sort of bright spot in your life.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ohhh, I'm sorry, Steely. I wonder if they had M sitting right there to listen to them telling you that. It sounds like something a school teacher would do, although it never helped turn my difficult child around to hear that he was "horrible". (I don't know what happened, but I SERIOUSLY doubt that M is the worst they've seen.)

    Really, I'm wondering if they have his medications right- I tend to think they do not. When they are having trouble dealing with inconsistencies in a kid who has a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis, it makes me wonder if they have a lot of experience in that area. I understand that the goal is to get him functional in the "real" world, but as I have said to many in my son's life, helping them learn to attain that goal and just disciplining them because they don't already know how to do it are two completely different things.

    I'm sorry they laid all that on you in the way they did. It really reminds me of a school teacher or principal though, calling to complain about our kids. Can you call back and discuss the specifics a little more? Will they let you provide some ideas about what works and doesn't work when dealing with M? If nothing else, I would be tempted to remind them that what they are seeing is EXACTLY why M is there.

    Hang in there-I know it's a tough time for you, even without this. You're strong and knowledgable though and you will weather through this, too. I think H is there to console you and help you through this and to let you know that you are not alone.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    As much as it hurts to hear these things, I think we as parents need to hear them. So many parents are in total denial about their kids. Some just don't understand how serious things are.

    As much as you would have liked the group leaders and the kids to just forgive and forget, that's really not possible. If he was that violent, it had to be frightening for all concerned. The director is right. Matt will have to regain everyone's trust. It will be hard for him and you'll need to guide him as much as possible from a distance.

    My daughter was always the most manipulative, sneaky from kindergarten on. Everything she did was to an extreme. I hated hearing that. She didn't deserve to be compared to the other kids. No person does. She needed to hear where she was doing well, where her behavior was excellent. I did my best to mesh the two, to let her know when she had gone too far with her classmates but to also let her know when she had excelled. Do remind the director that Matt will need to hear good stuff, too, from him, his staff and, if at all possible, the other kids. Constant negativity just reinforces the sense of failure.

    I do remember those phone calls with my daughter. The "you need to" and the suggestions of how to change things for the other kids to have more trust and understanding. I hated those conversations. I wanted to tell my daughter all was well, that I loved her, to hear the good stuff. I didn't want to hear her in tears because I was once again not satisfied with her (her impression), but she needed to hear that I knew things were not going as well as she claimed, that she had things she really needed to work on. Just hearing it from the staff and the kids there wasn't enough.

    I wish there was a way to ease your pain but none of us can do that. You're going to hurt for your son, for your loss of H, for the lousy holidays, for the unfairness of life. We'll be here as much as we can. Please remember that we truly care about you.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Many, many hugs, Steely. You so desperately need a break and just can't seem to catch one. I wish so much that there was something I could, if just for a day, to ease your pain and lift your spirits.

    I, too, wonder about Matt's medications. Is there anyone you can speak with again regarding the medications?

    I don't get told my kid is the worst. I get told my kid ain't so bad. Then a a few months later, when the honeymoon is over, they call and tell me to come get him cause he's mean and they can't handle him. And while I'm sure he isn't the worst, I get sick of everyone condescending initial attitude of "he's so cute, he's just fine". The only thing I know coming out of all this is there isn't anything these people could say that wouldn't hurt.

    Saying prayers, Steel. You need them right now.
  6. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    After my difficult child had her episode in class and came back after suspension. I was told at the IEP meeting that the other kids in class are scared of her. The first thing that popped into my head was "you waiting until NOW to tell me this???" but to tell you the truth, I didn't think about transitioning her back into the classroom. I didn't think about what damage was done to the other kids in class. NEVER even considered that they might have problems with her. Like you, I thought they'd just forgive and forget and everything would be back to normal the day she went back to school. No, all I thought about was the stuff we'd just gone thru and how it affected difficult child.

    I suppose it's a bit selfish in a way to think this way, but I am starting to believe that we're conditioned to it now. We fight so hard and seems like all we ever do is soemthing for difficult child. This opened my eyes to start thinking about everyone else that is affected. So even though i don't want to hear how the other people are affected, I need to hear it. and I am now wondering how to teach difficult child to understand the effects she has on everyone around her. How the episode hurts her friends and teachers. She may not ever "get" it, or may not remember it when an episode hits, but I need to try to get thru to her.

    So no, I am like you. I don't want to hear someone telling me my child is the worst. But if he has to earn the trust of his follow housemates, then this just might be the turning point. Make use of the info you're given and see if there is anyway you two could come up with something to change his peer's view of him.

    lots of ((HUGS)) to both of you.
  7. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    Are these people professionals?

    Yes adolescents have explosions. They live in the present and act in the present. The ability to plan for longterm gains are something they have to be taught.

    Whenever you receive a young person in a group home, a hospital unit they come with a history you dont know. You can of course call the previous place and get some info. But shouldn't a person be allowed to start over without being judged on previous deeds?

    Of course different facilities have different targetgroups. The one your child is at now, could be ill-suited to provide the treatment your child needs, but it takes management who are willing to set aside any concern about enrollment and economy.

    I know some group homes here in Denmark who agrees to take whoever and then when things get wrong they are in the system and are transfered to a period of wilderness therapy or a to more structured environment. As a parent it is easier to say yes to such a transsition than taking the originally decision to send the offspring out of the home. But then it is important to remember that everytime the child changes facility you have to go through the same investigations as you did when you took, when the child left the home, because some of the more structured home are pure lockdown. I saw this story about a young women in the states and her stay in a program which is about to be a book about her travel through 3 different programs before she found peace in the 4th. I wouldn't ever allow my children to sleep in this or walk around in this, but if it presented nice enough in parent manual with words life "soft" I could be fooled.

    I think that you should travel over here and talk with him without anyone around you. Even as thin as a pancake can be made it has two sides. What triggered him and could a strategy be made so he is not pushed into such a situation again. Sometime therapy can open Pandoras box by mistake when hard issues surface is to large a number.

    The trust is also a twosided story. If you are a child and you are living with adult strangers you need to trust them also. Help him to adjust with your presence and give yourself peace. I feel truely caring heart for your son and pray that you can guide him towards the help. ((hug))
  8. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Did you ask them what this was going to accomplish? Was there a goal by making him feel like he was being punished for being unstable.
    If they have an actual plan and it makes sense well it might be good. But if this is just some sort of, he made us mad and now we are paying him back. Sounds like childish behaviour.
    I agree all of our kids need to be held accountable, but they also need to be given tools and situations need to be looked at, the events that lead up to his actions. The medications, the changes he was going through.
    And I am sorry but the therapist's need to look at their actions as well. Just like we as parents need to look at what we might have done to make a rage worse or better.

    I know M is an *adult* but he is not in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) by choice.
    If they actually have a plan or a goal with this line of thinking then great. If it is just a punishment with nothing other than treating him like a bratty little kid and to humiliate him. I don't know if that is the best route to go with a Mentall Ill young man who has a many issues as M.
    You and M have decided to try this place, give it some more time. Keep asking questions. Try to stay optimistic. I know you are...
    He can get through, he may not get through *perfect* like all of the other kids, or what most parents would think of as perfect... but all of our kids our perfect in their own unique ways.
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks for the prayers, I do need them.

    They have been working on Matt's medications for months, ever since in Sept the hospital "accidentally" d/c 2 of them. I can't imagine how or what more we could do with medications at this stage in life or this stage in the game.

    Meow, I know this is really Matt's reality. He was the one out of control, and he has to endure the natural consequences. I guess I just also know that he will live up to what ever expectation anyone has of him. If he feels like people do not like him, i.e., the staff, than he will not be successful. I am just worried. Where else will he go, if this fails. I feel like I am sitting here just waiting for the time bomb to go off. And then what.

    I know that is really negative on my part. And I am trying to be as positive as I know how - but I have a hard time being positive without some tangible arrow pointing towards a positive possibility. Hope is not my strength.
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I just read Nancy's post and I hadn't thought of it from that perspective. K is so young. We are dealing with the PTSD of her actions to N. I try to shield N from her actions.
    It is so hard. K is so fragile it would make her fall apart to her that she hurt someone.Or that she was the worst. Yet she would do it again in a rage!

    Once again Mental Illness SvCKS
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Oh, Steely, lookie what I just found under my bed.

    Its a box of hope that I'd forgotten all about! I opened it to see what kind of hope is in it, and here is what I found:

    Hope that the sun will shine tomorrow.
    Hope that regardless of Matt's choices, you can move forward and make your own life now.
    Hope that, with a little more time, you can focus on your career and make it something you love again.
    Hope that another "friend" will show up with another "book", to let you know that your loved ones are out there, and always will be - just remember!
    Hope that the next snow storm is short lived. And if its not, that you have enough milk and bread in the fridge (why is it milk and bread are obliterated from the grocer's shelves before a storm? Could we not survive on beans and soup???)
    Hope that your dogs will lick you like a Goddess when you come in from your next outing.

    I'm sure I'm missing a few...

    There was also a $10 bill in there, too. If nothing in the box of hope makes you smile, you're to take it to Billy Bob's in Fort Worth and find the old man with the longhorn. Give him the $10 and get on Lonestar. You can NOT ride that longhorn without smiling and feeling joy. Not possible.
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes, it is all so hard. I agree with Nancy, I diminish sometimes the affect his behavior may have had on others. Therefore, I am in no way suggesting to M. that he do anything other than learn from this, and understand the ramifications his rages have. I guess it is more me, and hearing constantly that the staff still feel tentative around him, and that he has to earn their trust, and the latest, his rage was the worst they had seen.

    Toto, my first and only constant question to them has been, what is the plan for helping everyone overcome this? No answers, just people talking in circles, or the director not answering my emails or calls. Very, very frustrating. I need a plan, and I know M does too, so he can feel like he is accomplishing something.

    Whatever, there is only so much I can do. I think the only thing that will make me feel better is to have a back up plan, so if the bomb goes off I am prepared. Now to find a backup plan, that is like finding a needle in a haystack.

    Shari, you are hilarious. You know I have lived in Dallas for 35 years, and I have never been to Billy Bobs. Perhaps it is time:))) Thanks for the laugh, and box of hope.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Steely, I also got something from Nancy's post. I think you are looking at this very objectively and wisely. I'm like you- when I'm so stressed about something not working out, the only hope I have of feeling better is to start looking into and formulating a back-up plan. You're handling this as best as anyone could and you have 100% of my support!
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Heck yeah, its time. Send me your address and I'll send you this box! Its really funny to watch him twist his head to and fro to avoid obstacles like parking meters and stuff with those big ol' horns. It WILL make you laugh.

    Back up plans are good, too. by the way.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, Steely, that's so hard.

    I love your ideas, Shari! LOL!

    Steely, your dream reflects exactly what you are processing right now. You're still missing your sister and it is still fresh, and you definitely have Matt on your mind. That's to be expected. I just wish you could have less relevant dreams, if you Know what I mean?. Something nice, like a dream about a Caribbean island.

    Or even Billy Bob.

    I feel and share your frustration with-the admin at Matt's residence. Grrrrr. They need a plan. Now.

  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!


    Even if he's getting negative feedback from the staff, which he does need to hear to a point, you have the role as the "rock" for him and can do a lot I think in reminding him of the things he does that are RIGHT. That doesn't mean you shouldn't reinforce the hard lessons he has to learn from his past mistakes, but you can also lift him up with your love and shine the light on the good that is in him and that he can choose to do.

    I also think you should reinforce with staff his need to hear positive feedback along with the lessons about his mistakes, and the consequences they will reap if they fail to remember this. He is fragile, despite his destructiveness.

    Hang in there. You are doing the best you can and that's all anyone can ask.
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes, he is very fragile, sensitive, sweet - and at times a horrible monster.
    GVC the thing that is really hard for me is that I agreed to only have supervised calls with Matt since his last rage. The staff felt that our phone calls caused Matt to be more emotional - which is probably true. None the less I can really offer little to this situation. The supervised calls total 30 minutes a week, one of which was calls was where the fact I could not see him on cmas was dumped on him (and me, because I thought they had already told him.)

    There is little room for me to be anything in this situation. I feel stripped of my warrior mom persona - which is the one thing that would keep me fighting through times like these. The dr won't even answer my phone calls. I can only have blind trust - and try to focus on things that I can affect. At this point I am trying to figure out what that is in my life. It is not work, or family - it will have to be something I create for myself.

    And for the love of god - somehow, someway - Matt needs a life, & a chance to overcome his own demons!!!!! Someone, besides me is going to have to stick with him through this, thick and thin, until he can be successful on his own. Why can't someone in this world rise to the occasion and commit to that?
  18. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    And I guess the other thing, is that Matt is so primal in so many ways. He feels everything around him. Like dogs. My dogs are going bonkers today because they sense I am unsettled, upset. They are fighting, growling, completely not at peace.

    If the home Matt is at is unsettled and upset internally with him - then he will feel it. He will know it. He will want to react on a subconscious primal level. It will take him moving to a higher level of functioning in order to overcome "his gut feelings". That is hard for many to do. And especially him. I guess that is the crux of why this bothers me so much.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean about being able to feel it. I hope he can just retreat to his room or to a quiet place to find some peace.
    And I hope the medications start to work.
    I can only imagine how helpless you must feel.
    Still, you have done the right thing. Somehow, he's got to find his own way through life. It is going to be very, very hard but from everything you've told us about him, I think he will get through.
    I'm sending calming wishes.
  20. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    I would be afraid of supervised calls because then I would never know if he leave important issues out because he is afraid how the staff would react to them.

    I met with colleague, who came over here a couple a years ago from Idaho. There is a pipe in the sprinklersystem in a dorm with the name Camelot in one of the schools. It is bend for a good reason dating back in 1994 with another Texasn boy and left as it was out of respect for what took place. I won't go into it, but it is about a message that didn't go through.

    If unsupervised calls upset him, them make longer so you can be finished with your conversation. If the staff wont take your calls continue to call them. I saw your previous posts and it has been hard for you to find this place, but the communication between your son and your family is very important for him if he should fight too much PTSD when he leaves.

    If they can do their job he will at some point get it better in the box environment. Then he will have to adjust back to the reality. He is 18 so he will find it easier than most, but still we could end up talking a year or more before home visits are regular and he will have the possibility to walk around those peers in your hometown he will have live with when it is over.

    I urge you to help him as much as possible so he don't miss out of what is going on at home. Having updates helps both you and him in the long run.

    I will pray that he gets through his crisis and will get better. I can feel the love for you have for your son across the Atlantic and hope that makes the difference.