Doubting myself again...but not TOO much!


Since we started the tough love, i.e., no visiting our son at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC), no gifts in the mail, etc., he's been calling about once a week, going through the same thing--his easy child didn't say we COULDN'T visit, just that it wasn't a good idea, why do we care more about what his easy child thinks than what our "child" wants (17 1/2 years old...), etc. I've stayed calm and neutral, answering the same way--"Your dad's and my top priority is supporting you in your program, and we fully intend to follow your easy child's advice as to what he and your PO feel is in your best interest which means no visits until you earn them.

Really, this isn't about climbing Mt. Everest--all he has to do is watch his mouth, stop goofing in school, participate in group/individual counseling, and do a couple of chores.

His latest request, after I turned him down last week about calling his PO to "negotioate" an earlier return home date, is now to call his easy child (whom he sees every day...) to ask him whether or not our son will be coming home for Easter. This is entirely dependent on the above, and we've explained over and over that HE is in control of his behavior which will influence the degree of privileges he is allowed including visits home.

I again told him that I would NOT get in the middle of this and that it was up to him to discuss this with his easy child. He said that his easy child won't give him a clear answer. My guess is that his easy child is in no way going to do that as they have evaluations every two weeks, and he won't be CERTAIN whether or not he'll allow our son to visit home until later in the week when they do the evaluations.

He got upset and told me that he felt it was wrong for me to not do this "little thing" for him because his visit home would be "to the benefit of the whole family." Now, I'm not buying into that cr-p, really, but I have started to wonder if I'm detaching myself a bit TOO much. It's not that I don't care--I care VERY much and am DYING to call his easy child and ask. But, I don't want to because then I would be allowing myself to get emotionally "hooked" again in a situation I have no control over.

Our son has known for at least a month that he stood the chance of a few-days-to-a week-long visit home over the Easter school break, IF he made his status. My feeling is that, if he really WANTED to earn that visit, he would have done it by now. If he hasn't done what he needs to do, then he won't be coming home--simple as that.

Not my issue, not my problem. In fact, he has had the opportunity to visit home every other weekend for the entire five months he's been in the program and has only mangaged to earn his status to do so once.

So, what do you all think???? Am I being too cold?


Well-Known Member
You arent being cold at all.

Let me ask the way this works basically that he has to make level x or status x to come home for this weekend? If so, wouldnt he know if he had done what was necessary to reach that status? Of all people...HE should know!

I remember when my son was in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) he would call me all excited because he reached level 3 or something and that meant he could do such and such. Maybe it was a weekend pass at home. Normally he knew well in advance. Now a time or two something happened where he had to call me at the last minute...say a day or two before hand and cancel the pass because he dropped a level. As his daughters bib says...Spit Happens!

I think I would just keep telling your son that you arent going to get into the status questions because that is between him and the program. He should know what status he is and if he has a question about it, then to ask his easy child. End of discussion.


Well-Known Member
I'm sure you know what I think, my friend. I think the whole situation is an 'itch and a heartbreaker BUT if he can not take
ownership now, chances are he will have the same plus plus issues
and problems as an adult. There is NO sympathetic helper once
he turns 18.

Truly I "feel" your posts having been there done that. I was not successful in
impacting our son to take ownership. By 16 he was a "hot shot"
(old l950's on the streets. Up to 14 he was sharp
as a tack and smart as a whip within the realm of normal kid

Truth be known (even though I still call him easy child/difficult child) I have very
little hope that he will function as a easy child again. Would it have
helped if we had visited less when he was a juvie?? Probably
not...but the point is...doing it the way you were doing it is
proven not to work. It doesn't mean the tough love method will
work but it is possible.

I don't think you have any choice other than to maintain the course you are on now. Sending caring hugs. DDD


Janet, yes, it's just the same as your son's. They all start at a C status and can drop to a D or raise to a B. They must be at B to get passes. Every two weeks, they re-evaluate. I know the easy child has a great deal of say so in the status determinations, but it also depends on reports from school and house staff.

My son SHOULD know how he's doing, i.e., when he chose to sneak out the window for a cigarette, he didn't make B. DUH!

But, he's still SO immature that he does a lot of wishful thinking and still seems to believe that an "I'm sorry" is going to get him what he wants. So, he may really not know whether or not he's going to make B, and it's driving him nuts.

But, still, not my problem. I'm glad you agree.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not feeling that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...


Oh, thanks, DDD...I keep waiting for this to get easier, but I guess that might not happen. Seems to me that, after five months in this highly structured environment, if he was going to actually "get it," he would have done so by now.

I have noticed that he doesn't get as "hot" over the phone. At the beginning, when I was starting not to fall for his "stuff," he'd become angry and start to raise his voice and use profanity. As he realized that, every time he did this, the staff would reduce the amount and length of his phone calls home, he finally started keeping his voice down. Now, he's progressed to no raised voice or profanity but will simply say that he doesn't want to talk anymore. So, maybe he is getting it a bit. He is THE most stubborn kid on earth!

But, the bottom line, as you said, is that what we were doing before didn't help, so it was time to make a change. Maybe this won't work either. I still hope and pray so, and I hope and pray the same for your difficult child/easy child and everyone elses here...


member since 1999
Are you being too cold? Absolutely *not*. Please oh please, print out and put next to the phone your statement:

Really, this isn't about climbing Mt. Everest--all he has to do is watch his mouth, stop goofing in school, participate in group/individual counseling, and do a couple of chores.

Seriously - is that asking too much? (Don't ask him!!!)

Honestly, I just love the way our kids think sometimes. "To the benefit of the whole family." :rofl: Oh my goodness... I do have to say it sounds like some of the groups are sinking in. He's spouting it well. Egads....

I think you're doing a *great* job of putting this squarely back on his shoulders, which is where it belongs. It's hard but you're sounding strong and sure. It also sounds like he *might* be getting that you're not going to rescue him anymore ("do this little thing for him" - do they pass out difficult child handbooks at birth and how do we get our hands on them??? This is just so like my beloved thank you). I think it's positive.


Sue, that's always been my son's problem---he's a great talker (almost genius verbal IQ) but I'm afraid most of it's just words.

And, I really must admit that, when I heard that, "It would be to the benefit of the whole family," my thoughts wandered back to that slap of the doggie door when my son used it to sneak out at night to meet his pot-smoking buddy a couple of houses down, the F-word that I've never once heard my husband of thirty-five years use but used to hear numerous times a times a day out of my child's mouth, the red eyes and the Visine in the coat pockets, the mountain of clothes on his bedroom floor, the hole in the door, etc. I was thinking to myself, well, I don't know that I would go so far as considering a visit home a BENEFIT!

Maybe we should all get together and write a counter-manual!


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #3333FF"> didn't realize your post had doubled itself...don't you hate when that i posted on the other one.

just wanted to let you know so you don't miss my ever so important pearls of wisdom :rofl:.

</span> </span> </span>


New Member
Your replies to him are perfect. If he did what he was supposed to and earned the right to be coming home, he would be. I think you need to tell him just that and nothing more. You would be doing him absoluteley no favors by pressuring them to allow him to come home if he didn't deserve it. What would that tell him for the next time. That he doesn't really have to do it, because you will fix it again.

You have both come much to far to go backwards now. Keep telling him you love him, and that is why you are doing what everyone is telling you is best for him.


Kris, thanks for the heads up, and I WOULDN'T have wanted to miss that post!

That's EXACTLY what I think he's doing--hoping that "mommy" will cry on the big, bad easy child's shoulder, begging to be reunited with her "baby." This approach has worked for him in the past, and he's hanging on for dear life.

However, I know for a fact that it wouldn't work in his present situation, even if I DID decide to interfere, because his easy child has his number!

I know our previous dynamic has been unhealthy for all of us, and that I wouldn't be doing him any favors by even attempted to place myself and my wants/needs into this equation.


Karen, you're SO right!

I really feel fortunate when I read the posts here from those of you who are dealing with difficult child's on a one-on-one, face-to-face basis. I KNOW that the fact that my son is out of our home and is only able to make brief, somewhat supervised phone calls has given me a wonderful opportunity to step back, take a deep breath, and do some behavior modification of my own.

I know darn well that, if he WERE home and in my face, this would probably not have happened because he is a MASTER at creating such a whirlwind of drama around himself that it's just about impossible to think much less plan for appropriate responses!

I know I've got to take full advantage of this opportunity to grow and strengthen myself so that, when he IS back home, I will have grown a thicker skin as we approach the probably inevitable day when we will have to make that heartwrenching decision, as so many of you have had to do, to tell him to either shape up or ship out.
I think you're doing great, CAmom. Banish those doubts!
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: CAmom</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I was thinking to myself, well, I don't know that I would go so far as considering a visit home a BENEFIT!</div></div>That's priceless! :rofl:
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Maybe we should all get together and write a counter-manual! </div></div>We are -- it's called


Herewegoagain, I DO crack myself up sometimes...keeps me sane!

So, THAT's what we're doing here!

Thanks for the kind words!