For those that have been there, what do I do now?


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All indications point to difficult child abusing something. A previous post of mine asked about pen parts found while money was missing. easy child 1 had money taken while home for Thanksgiving. Twice, when difficult child had a friend over, money went missing in the house, so we weren't sure who it was.

I gave easy child 1 a lockbox to put his stuff in when he came home for the winter break. easy child 1 put it in his closet, hidden by clothes. Yesterday, when he went to go out to a party, his box was gone.

We called difficult child to come home and started searching his room before he came home. We found alcohol and a tiny pipe. We didn't find easy child's wallet, etc. difficult child denied everything. Then, I remembered easy child had asked me where to put his computer keys. I told him to put them in the box. I remembered that I saw a strange set of keys in a shoebox in difficult child's room. I went and got them & they were easy child's computer keys. difficult child said he took the box but left easy child's wallet on easy child's closet floor. Naturally it's not there. He says he doesn't know where it is then, that he didn't take it.

This coming Thursday, we have a court date from when difficult child was suicidal and jumped out of our car on the way to the hospital(past post in general), we got the police to help find him and in a rage in the back of the patrol car he did damage and then while struggling to be put on the stretcher, for the ambulance ride to the ER, he bit the officer's finger. difficult child spent 4 days in hospital for psychiatric care but the insurance wouldn't cover any more since he wasn't suicidal anymore.

I know we have to call his lawyer first thing tomorrow morning but what would happen from there? He needs help but does the lawyer ask for placement/help to be considered at a specific place, etc? I just don't know what to expect, etc. and any in sight would be greatly appreciated.


I've been there done that. But with mine it was the police station wall. Mine also used to bite a lot. Spit in faces when fully tied down (they put spit guard mask over his face). Believe me, the court has seen much worse than yours or mine. These aren't kids with guns or knives, they aren't raping girls, etc. So keep it in perspective as they will. This is a kid with mental illness who is self-medicating which leads him to steal to get money.

The judge will listen to the proposal and then give you their opinion (the ruling which you have to do). Mine has been before a LOT of judges. Not one has ever disagreed with a placement decision. But these things are worked out in advance with the prosecution. Typically a few minutes before the hearing the lawyer meets with the prosecutor. They review all of the cases the lawyer has for that hearing including yours. You've already told your child's lawyer what you want and/ or have already arranged. If it's a licensed placement for the illness that has been diagnosis by a qualified professional who has recommended a placement the procecutor will agree. Everyone knows placements are hard to come by. So if you've found one they don't really want to mess it up. Obviously they wouldn't agree if it was an unsuitable placement eg your child is a chronic runaway and it's not a secure facility or your child needs sub abuse as well as mental health and you're sending them to a relative in another town with no treatment. So it's not a given that they'll agree but it's unlikely they'll reject it if it's a real placement or real treatment that's suitable. So then your lawyer and the prosecutor have agreed on what they want the judge to order. Again, if it's a good placement judge will be fine with it. But you need to know that judge will put more conditions on top of the placement. So on that one charge only which seems to be either under the influence or in a mental illness rage, it would be something like 1 year probation. During this 1 year period the child has to report to the PO (or placement reports to PO), has a curfew if that's an issue, has to have random drug tests, good grades, school attendance, etc. But the biggest point is that if he gets another charge during this one year period this charge comes back into sentencing. Then the probation period gets longer, the terms get harder, etc. Keep in mind that it's based on your area and your PO but mine has never kept to the terms of the probation EVER and nothing really happens. Next charge comes up and judge considers old one with new one in sentencing. They VERY rarely in my experience bring a kid back to court for lousy grades, poor school attendance, even failing drug test.

If your kid clears the one year mark without another charge then they may or may not bring him back to court to dismiss the first charge. Depending on your state it's either explunged at 18 or you have to apply to have it explunged. That means that it's as if it doesn't exist, he can answer no to any employment application question about arrest or court involvement.

Try reading this, which I've found quite helpful. Obviously the laws mentioned here are specific to my state but you might be able to find something similar for your state. Start by looking at family court websites for your state. They all have them. (Juveniles typically are in family court, not criminal court.)


Active Member
Sorry things aren't going very well. You've got a number of issues going here.

easy child 1 - Obviously the lock box didn't work. difficult child just took the whole darn thing....imagine that... What about having easy child 1's room locked from the outside with only he and you having the key? Sometimes we have to get more creative

Do you have any recommendations from difficult child's psychiatrist for placement? What type of recommendation was made when difficult child had the issue with the police? (ie therapy, medications, evaluations, etc). Does your insurance cover a 30day program? Has your difficult child acquired "points" as to determine if placement is available? Obviously involving the judicial system brings alot more hassle into your lives, but sometimes it's needed.

Sending you some cyber support and some polish for your warrior mom armour.


New Member
We had to put a deadbolt on easy child's bedroom door to keep difficult child out. She wasn't stealing money, but helped herself to anything else of easy child's that she wanted. It's sad that there is no respect of family members' boundaries.


New Member
When my difficult child was actively using my easy child daughters money, jewelry, you name it was missing constantly and of course it became a huge battle because he would always deny it and I had no way to physically prove it, but we knew he took it. When I found pen parts in his room, he was snorting heroin. I would have him drug tested somehow, through the courts, whatever it takes. He is showing definate signs of using something. The stealing is the biggest flag.


Well-Known Member
Ideally, your difficult child could get placement that would greatly increase the chances of a happy future. I don't know where
you are...and even if I did, lol...I wouldn't know what your
court system does in those circumstances.

in my humble opinion there are two important concepts to keep in mind. #1
you must be convinced that your child has problems that do
require intensive intervention. If you're not completely convinced AND your husband, too, you won't be able to advocate
appropriately. #2 you must be determined to find the very
best choice that is available for your childs treatment. Not
all placements are good. Once again you have to research what the options are and then fight (quietly and politely, of course) for your child.

I am sorry you are on our boat because it is hard rowing.
We are always here to render support. DDD


Well-Known Member
We attempted to get placement for my son thru the juvenile court system and it never worked out. I actually got the judge to order him into placement...IF I found an appropriate placement that would be satisfactory to the probation dept. I found tons of places to send him but the PO refused to OK them...said they cost too much money. It was a farce.

Eventually we found placement for my kid utilizing mental health avenues and he ended up in group homes and finally a Residential Treatment Center (RTC).


Active Member
Thanks all for responding. OTE, the link was good. We're in NJ and I'm going to search to see our state's site.

SunnyFlorida, when the incident happened with the police, we couldn't get him into the hospital that his psychiatrist is from. They had to send us somewhere else. The psychiatrist there put him on an antidepressant and suggested an after school program to help him cope with having a mental illness. We looked into it and I could not find anything good about it. We knew one teen that attended the after school rehab there and it was worthless.

His regular psychiatrist recommmended counseling for him to talk to someone and for his anger. We just found someone that he is willing to go to (difficult to get him to open up to people). He's gone once and has an appointment this week. That counselor told me that he has ODD & CD and that he feels we might have to hire someone to escort him and put him in a residental program for ODD. This counselor actually worked in the middle school that difficult child attended. He knows that he wasn't a problem at all in school and was shocked to see how oppositional & angry he is around us. difficult child hates us because we ask too many questions and talk to his friends!

Had problems after posting earlier. difficult child was very argumentive with me and easy child 2. difficult child called the police and hung up so naturally they came. difficult child was not making sense half the time and calling them names. He kept saying that he was going away to Florida where we wouldn't find him. He was leaving us. The cops were good with him and left telling him that I will call them back if he gives me problems. Well, he decided he wanted to go out & I said no. He started knocking books off the shelf, taking the bedding off my bed etc. I just laid down on my be with a headache. He decided he was going to flip the mattress with me on it. He started lifting it and had it halfway over when he stopped without saying anything and walked down the stairs into his room. I just laid there for not even a minute when he came out of his room and said - Mom, I need you to do something for me....E-Mail Mr. C. (His soccer coach) and tell him that me and Brian found 5 kids willing to play so far for indoor. HE WAS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON IN LESS THAN A MINUTE! Then he took a shower and came in by me and asked if I had looked in easy child 1's closet for his missing wallet and keys. I said yes that I did. He says, well, I found them in there & he proceeded to hand them to me. It was if he truly believed he had found them in easy child's closet when we couldn't.


Active Member

First of all, welcome. This is a very supportive group. Sorry you had to find us though. I do know some of what you're going through.

While drugging, most of our kids are very different. They can lie and look you right in the eye. They can steal and look you right in the eye and lie about it. We can ask them about drugging, and again, they can look us in the eye and deny it.

I would first like to strongly suggest that you lock up (and I don't mean in a portable safe that can be removed) any valuables. If it means taking out a safe deposit box or bringing things to a relative's home, I'd do it. If only I had listened to that little voice in my head when the first item or two disappeared, it would have kept my things safe. I kept thinking he couldn't have possibly taken them. I was wrong. Yes, he sold them for drugs, and at the time, never thought twice about it probably. Getting his next high was all he cared about.

I never went through the court system for help, although my son was eventually arrested. Prior to his court appearance, he had agreed to help and we went through the county's MHMR agency. I made a gazillion phone calls - to the university hospital, to their psychiatric wing, to the psychiatric hospital, to his pediatrician, to his psychiatrist, to anyone and everyone I could think of.

Once someone finally mentioned a dual-diagnostic (psychiatric and substance abuse) facility about 3 hours from here that they thought would be a good fit, we made another gazillion calls to find out how we could get him in, and afford to pay for it.

In the end, he was admitted to the facility, and was placed on SSI or something through the agency. They based it on his income (which was 0) or something. I'm not quite sure, even now, all the ins and outs of how they did it. I do know that they came up with a figure, which we ended up having them rework a bit, of what we could afford to pay out of pocket. It really was minimal.

Some have had success in going through the courts for help. We didn't. In some states/areas, it works. The system here in Michigan was more eager to put him in adult jail for breaking the law, than they were in helping a 17 year old with psychiatric problems and substance abuse problems get better.

My heart goes out to you. If he's drugging, the spiral has begun. The lying and stealing go hand in hand with the drugging.

Everyone has had different experiences, so again - I'm not saying going through the court system won't work. I'm only giving you our experience. If the court system in your area seems to work for helping juveniles turn things around, then you're fortunate.

Again, welcome aboard. We're here for you - for a shoulder to lean on. This is a rough road not for the faint of heart.

Sending hugs,


I didn't realize you were in NJ. A lot of what I mentioned above was in NJ. So what I said about the system is valid for you. If you want to pm what county you're in to me I can tell you if I was in court in that county...I was in North NJ. I had my kid in several RTCs in NJ so if you're looking for one let me know. If you're trying to get into the system to get the state to pay for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) let me know, I did that too.

The ability to turn on a dime and not remember the behavior is not classic BiPolar (BP). I guess it could be a manic psychotic state but I'd have that looked into more throoughly. That would really scare me. If he is in a psychotic state you can't predict what he will do. Next time that happens I'd call the cops immediately so they come to witness it. Any personal or property damage is grounds for them to come and for him to be admitted. You might have to fight for admission by saying you're scared to have him home because he's a danger to you and others in the house (if he's not still raging when he gets to ER). At this point you've got more than one incident like that so they should see it as a repetitive state.

Mine has been in a bunch of hospitals and I have yet to see one that allowed your private psychiatrist to treat him while in the psychiatric unit. Each hospital psychiatric unit has full time employee psychiatrists that do the treating, it's not like a medical ward where your doctor comes in each day. So I don't see why you had to move him except that few, VERY few hospitals in NJ have pediatrician psychiatric units. More likely it was an insurance issue and your insurance company only works with one or two of those few pediatrician psychiatric units in NJ. I know the private insur I had only worked with one hospital in NJ for pediatrician psychiatric and it was an hour north of me.

Mine was also in various alternative middle and HS in NJ so I can tell you something about those also.

Do you know about the parent support agency in Randolph that helps you with mentally ill kids? I didn't know about them at the time but they could be helpful to you. I also have some friends in NJ with kids in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) now so I can get recommendations if I don't know the one you're looking at.

Remember that the key to hospital treatment is that the child is:
1. danger to self
2. danger to others or
3. psychotic at the time he is in the ER... though I did have one occasion when he calmed down in the ambulance and cops were willing to convince ER that he was psychotic and needed to be admitted.

Don't know about your town but it's worth a call to local cops. Ask if they have a crisis unit within the police dept that could help you and/or a detective handling the juveniles who could help.

Don't count on a NJ PO to be any help.


New Member

Sure does sound like he is using something.
For years I had to hide everything valuable from my difficult child. It got so bad I was sleeping with my car keys, medications and money either under my pillow or under my mattress.
It is very important you protect yourself and easy child.
I'm not sure the lawyer can do much to get him help. Is he expected in court soon? Possibly they could get an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or mandate him to a group home with therapeutic services.....
To be honest, we did that and it really didn't stop her. Finally had to get her out of the house. I know he is only 16, but he is sliding down a slippery slope here.
I'm sorry you are going thru this. Drug treatment is really the only answer and he has to WANT that.
Maybe you can go to the family court and ask for a PINS (Person in Need of Supervision)Petition? I don't know what the cutoff age is for that in your state.
It's a hard thing to deal with and 16 is a tricky age legally.
Wishing you the best.



Active Member
His court date is this Thursday. The lawyer was getting all his paperwork from his two pysch hospital CCIS stays this year as well as info from his psychiatrist. In June he was in the psychiatric hospital CCIS that his psychiatrist is in charge of. Oct. he was in another place because of no beds available at the other. Our insurance fights to get him discharged. It seems as long as he is not threatening suicide, they feel he can be treated as an out patient - ugh. I'd like to see the people in charge of the insurance spend a month living in our home and having to deal with everything. Now at the last minute, we have to call the lawyer to let her know that we suspect substance abuse.

He's refusing to take his medications yesterday and this morning. He won't even get out of bed today. He just keeps telling me to "Walk away, Mom. Just walk away."

OTE I will PM you. Thanks.


Active Member
ignore him as much as you can for now. you have a lawyer who will figure things out and the court will make offers of what they have. secure your home and do not trust anything of value to be in sight or easy access anymore. esp the car keys.

try to soak in the tub or be good to yourself thru this trying time.


New Member
If he's warning you to walk away, I would do just that for now until someone can help you get him help.
My difficult child was sent to a state drug and alcohol rehab through the court system. He was arrested twice for posession of heroin though and his attorney found this program and got the judge to agree to it. It was a good program for him. He actually relapsed this past summer and checked himself back in and is now living in a soberhouse. There is good help out there, it's just not always easy to find.

I know it's very difficult when they are living in your home and you are dealing with it on a day to day basis. Try and do something for yourself so you aren't put over the edge.

I hope you can find him the help he needs.


Active Member
by the way as for the mattress flipping...I would tell him any violence from him would be met by a call to 911. do it if need be. he needs to know this is not going to be tolerated.


Active Member
All day yesterday he spiraled through moods. He would go from argumentive to his normal sweet self in a snap. I had my friend come over yesterday for about 30 minutes. She knows difficult child very well.

Well, she couldn't believe how he went from having a regular conversation with us to walking up the stairs to his room and then swearing his head off and then a minute or two later being calm again and then getting mad again a few minutes later.

I had called his psychiatrist and he wants him to be seen by a neurologist but needs difficult child to come in to sign a paper so that psychiatrist can talk to the neurologist.

difficult child did talk to me last night for an hour about nothing in particular - kept it light. Then he wanted to bake a cake. 9PM we baked a cake. He had a piece, took his medications and went to bed talking about going to school today.

This morning I can't get him out of bed. He's depressed as can be & mentioned that after court tomorrow, he might not be going to this school anyway so why bother.

I can't wait for the court hearing to be over - the waiting is horrible.


New Member
"He's refusing to take his medications yesterday and this morning. "

If he is using this might be a good thing. My difficult child was very unstable when using pot and/or Extascy and taking his perscription medications. Someone else here (I forget who) had the same experience. The combination seems to have caused rages. -RM


Well-Known Member
I'm tossing in a prayer that Court goes in a way that should
have a postive outcome for difficult child. Yep, I'm crossing my fingers also. DDD