difficult child Update- Long (sorry)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I just got back from visiting him and am a little stunned at some of this so I'm just going to write it in factual statements until I can digest it all.

    1) He turns 16 yo this week and it's just another big reminder that he's spent at least 90% of the last two years incarcerated. I don't know if he'll ever be able to function in normal society after that.

    2) He now has a jailhouse tattoo on the back of his wrist. Of all things, it's of my name. I hate that for him. The ONLY good thing that can possibly come from that is maybe someday when he's ready to commit another offense, maybe, just maybe, he'll see it and instead of using any anger he has for me as more energy to commit the offense, maybe someday this will remind him of something to stop him.

    3) He's already had several charges in there and has another pending right now so chances are he's blown getting out early. At best, they'll knock 1 or 2 months off so he can start next school year with everyone else but other than that, he'll have to do the 15-21 month sentence. Apparently they put a very disruptive kid in to be a room mate with difficult child, thinking difficult child's ability to conform would help settle the other kid. difficult child says they are both getting into trouble for what the roommate does. I don't know if that's it or that the other kid "unsettled" difficult child's conformity. Sigh.

    4) I had written difficult child a few weeks ago about concerns I was having about him coming straight home to live this time. He kept saying he was working on a long letter to discuss it thru the mail because it's too difficult for both of us to discuss it face to face at visitation where there's no privacy. He told me today he'd written me a 50+ page letter and had it ready to send as soon as he figures out if they'll make him split it up into smaller "letters". He says he started out trying to explain stuff to me, then started thinking about his own feelings and how all this happened so it ended up ending a lot differently than he had expected. He told me that he wrote about a lot of stuff he'd been sneaking and doing and had lied to me about. He says he wants to work on our relationship. Hopefully, he got something therapeutic out of that and I did encourage him to discuss this with his therapist.

    I almost think he should discuss the whole thing with therapist before mailing to me, then taking out what he might ultimately want to keep between the two of them. But difficult child says his therapist is the type who either dominates the session with questions and direction or interrupts difficult child when he ttries to talk about what he thinks is important. I have seen this in a LOT of tdocs myself so I do believe difficult child about that. I suggested that the next time he goes in to see therapist, he start right off by telling therapist that he has some things he needs to get off his chest and thinks he should know. Maybe that will help.

    5) Here's a shocker- difficult child said his therapist had already told him that he had distorted thinking. (SURPRISE huh?)

    6) difficult child told me today that he had realized thru this long letter that he had been very stubborn in the past and wouldn't listen to anyone when they'd try to tell him something. I said that I had known that all along. He said "yes, Mom, but that isn't what was important. What was important was that I admit that to myself and start accepting it." I'll give him a point for that, for sure.

    I'm going to write him a letter to include in his b-day card. I think I'll barely touch on the subject that it appears he was trying to raise himself the past few years instead of letting me guide him at all.

    It's so hard to untangle normal typical teen boy stages from true difficult child'ness. It's so hard to know how exactly I can help him get thru this to become a little more mature and responsible, a stage at a time, when I can't even get all that web untangled in my own mind.

    Oh- he snuck a phone call into an 18 yo girl who I used to think was a good influence on difficult child but later learned she most definitely was/is not. She gave him her address, he wrote her giving her his, but he hasn't heard anything back from her yet- that was about 2 weeks ago. I don't think it was ever a sexual involvement but my guess is that she was the one buying him cigs, giving him rides to places, talking to him on the phone late at night about partying, etc.

    He says after writing that letter and realizing some things, he really wants to change now so maybe it's better if she doesn't write him back at all. (We'll see how long those thoughts last.) Anyway, I reminded him that in order to have a fresh start, one has to let go of the old and the past and move on to other things, friends, etc., which is one of our big motivators for wanting out of that last jurisdiction we lived in.

    I don't want to give up on my son but I swear, I just thing his chances are pretty hopeless and I HATE feeling that way.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Klmno

    It sounds like difficult child is growing up. Hopefully the letter writing exercise helped him. I wouldn't be surprised if he has picked up additional charges if he will be there longer than the original sentence. That may not be a bad thing. If his brain is growing and developing, a bit more time in a secure environment may prevent a problem if he is released too soon.

    Once he is scheduled for release, I would look for a group that helps ex-cons reintegrate into society. I think that support will be key for him.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You're setting a wonderful example for him now. Life in your skin is at least 180 degrees better than it was a year ago. I think that is important to remember. You can not change him but you have changed yourself which demonstrates that it is indeed possible to pick yourself up and move on. Be proud of your accomplishments.

    You may never see the letter so I suggest now worrying about it. If you had endless free time and had to record all the changes you have experienced in recent years...it would probably be 100 pages, lol. Also feelings and outlook change with the passage of time....particularly with teens.

    So how are your health problems coming along? I hope healing is taking place. Hugs. DDD
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like he is realizing some very important things, which is excellent. Those things can change how he behaves IF he wants to, but it will be a long slow process. This talk actually seems like he may beaccepting that the problems are his fault and not the fault of anyone else and that if he wants different then he has to DO different to get it. This seems a lot more hopeful to me than anything he has said or done in a long time. It may actually be a sign that when he finally gets out he will work on not oging back. He will still mess up because real change is a process, but it would give him a real chance at life out in the world.

    The tattoo must be like a kick in the gut for you. A reminder that will never go away of this incredible traumatic ordeal that you have endured as he dragged you through it. Maybe in the long run it will turn out to be a constant reminder of the penalties of making bad choices and refusing to accept help from someone who loves you. There are ways to remove tattoos, so if he wants to explore that after he is released it will be possible. There are also new products to cover them. The woman from that LA Ink show has her name on a tattoo cover up and if it works like the pictures - WOW! In the photos it made her look like she had never had a tattoo at all. I think it is sold at Sephora if you want to look at it just so you know what is there if/when he needs soemthing. And at least it is your name and not some curse word or picture taht would guarantee no one would hire him for any reputable job. And he spelled it right, which doesn't always happen with tattoos either.

    It must be hard to hear that he is getting into trouble with his new roommate. Another thing that is hard now but might be good for the long term outlook - he can see how htis ohter boy is creating his own problems and how going along iwth him gets difficult child into trouble. So maybe he will be able to see that his actions in the past were very similar and that it was his fault he is there and not yours. (You and I know that the PO and GAL must bear some responsiblity, but difficult child needs to think it was his responsibility in order to change his future, Know what I mean??) That will help him in the long run to give him reasons to do the hard work involved in changing his behavior and thinking.

    It is AWESOME that he is listening to his therapist, whther he fully believes him or not. He may not fully accept that his thinking is distorted, but at least he is talking and htinking about it - a VERY good sign! The long long letter is also a great sign, as is telling you about the girl and her contribution to his choices. I know it all seems pretty bleak, esp as he has blown early release most likely. But he will have a chance to continue with his thought changes before he gets out and can be easily distracted by all the things he couldn't do or have while locked up.

    It had to be a hard visit. I am sorry about the tattoo. Even if youtry to put a positive spin on it, a permanent reminder of this time in his life must be a kick in the gut every time you look at it. It does seem like he is maturing in his thinking while he is there, so hopefully he can make some real changes. ((((((((((hugs))))))))))
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It does sound like he is making some progress. He is realizing some important things. I'm sorry about the tattoo. Sending gentle hugs your way and praying he is ready to make some changes.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I like 4,5 and 6.
    He is definitely growing up. The hard part is that it won't be a steady curve. It will be ups and downs, but with-a gradual and (hopefully) permanent upward curve.

  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    It does look promising. A start.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you all for being understanding and supportive. I need time to think about all this. The tattoo most definitely bothers me a lot, even though I know it could be worse. Maybe a watch will cover it if he ever has a job interview or something.

    I'm sure I'll be posting about that 50 page letter if I ever do get it.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have to laugh at the tat. Seems they all tend to get them. Cory got DBC tattooed down his arm in jail. Stands for Deep Branch Crew. As if we actually have a "crew" in on our little corner here. That was what the boys called themselves when they were playing tag and army and paintball guns...lmao. His dad said that was what he was gonna call his company if he ever managed to start his own drywall company...lol. Now Cory wants to get it covered up because it looks so idiotic.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah...I just hope it isn't the start of a series of them. Knowing my son, he could end up with 20 before he figures out that he regrets doing the first one. This one obviously hadn't just been done so I don't know how long he'd had it before I saw it. (The long sleeve can cover it if he makes an effort to keep it pulled down.) So my first question to him was "how many of those do you already have?"
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I wouyld be wondering hte same thing. sorry the cat is on the keyboard
  12. ML

    ML Guest

    I echo what DDD said. You have made such great progress with your life this past year. I think that is the greatest gift you can give him, K. To show him by your example how to take care of yourself. If he can see you do what you have done, imagine how that might influence him. But in the end, you are quite powerless and that's the truth. Good job, mom. The kid has heart and I haven't given up on him yet. If you pm me his or your addy I would also like to send him a card. Love, ML
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    To each his own...a tattoo is not the end of the world. I was disappointed when my daughter got one at 18. The she did it again at 19. First on the back of her neck. The 2nd? both wrists - her brothers names. Ugh! But, I am over it. It is her body. If she has regrets.....well - who doesn't, right?

    I heard that 'logical' thinking for a few years before it was real and showed up in her actions. So, take it all with a grain of salt until you see actions. Don't sweat it. There is nothing you can do about it anyhow.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    BW that makes a lot of sense. So does what DDD said, which is in line with what Dr P said on a show a couple of times and a mindset that I have tried to adapt and maintain. So thank you both for reminding me of that. It helps me take care of myself and push forward, reinforce to difficult child both that he can start over just the same as me and that he is responsible for his actions instead of letting us get tangled back up in knee-jerk reactions that keep us from concentrating on improvement and just tend to lead difficult child to self-destruct and sabatoge both of us in an effort to manipulate me. I might not have worded that clearly but I know what I meant by it. LOL!

    I think my burn has an infected area. Sigh. I have to get myself well and quit living in the "one step forward, one step backward" life so I don't lose this job without getting another one first.
  15. ML

    ML Guest

  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    PS I'm not anti-tats to the extreme and I have one, too. But I got mine after I was a bit older than difficult child, in a place where it's only seen when I wore swimsuits, and I didn't get a person's name, and I never developed a habit of going back to get more. But as you say, to each his own. I get that and I guess I just have to accept that difficult child will make his own life long regrets- that's the part that's getting to me the most about this- he is not even close to being at a point in life where he should be making permanent, life long decisions for himself.

    I'm getting ready to write him so I can go run errands and go into work for a bit to make up a little time. I'll try to catch up on my PMs tonight.

    Again, thanks to all of you! I'll get over this and past it all I'm sure.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    K...on the subject of tats. I am not for or against unless its on me and on me Im really against since Im sure it would look hideous!

    However, I think you should never get a name unless its your child or just MOM...lol. Jamie's first girlfriend or fiance wanted to get his name tattooed on her ankle. We begged her not to do this. Begged. Told her what a bad idea this was. She did it anyway. They didnt get married. It was an awful scene and break up. Unless she has managed to change it, she is still walking around with a huge heart with his name on the side of her ankle cause it was a huge tattoo!
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    LOL! At least difficult child put my name and not a girlfriend's, although he'll have to explain this every girl he goes out with. I had a boyfriend in the military who is still walking around with my name in a heart on his shoulder. I met up with him years later just to see how he was doing. He had gotten married and said his wife didn't like looking at my name on his arm every night AT ALL- understandably so. I can tell you that I am NOT happy about everyone difficult child knows in the future knowing what my name is or having my name on an arm doing something illegal, assuming that will probably happen someday in the future, too. But again, I just have to detach from that. It doesn't make it my responsibility.
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I have seven tats, all where I can hide them in regular clothes and show them off if I want to. All professionally done. Dad still isn't happy about it, and I never told him it was my cure for cutting (which he also didn't know about).
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    k...maybe he will either marry a woman with your name or name his child after you...lol