Help on difficult child returning home

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by llamafarm, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. llamafarm

    llamafarm Member

    difficult child is still in therapeutic foster care that doesn't seem so therapeutic, but he seems to be doing alright. He has been there for a couple of weeks now. It is a 30 day temporary placement. It was to give us some respite and get services in place so he can return home. Of course services are not yet in place and he is due home in a week and a half. Grrr.

    We need some help preparing for difficult child's return. What is your take on preparing the house for his return? We have cleaned his room, it looked like a bomb went off (I am sure many of you can relate). But we wonder do you think it is better to keep the furniture where it is for consistency sake or should we shake things up a bit and rearrange so that all the old patterned behavior is shaken up? We need to shake things up a bit to improve behavior, he hasn't had any problems in the f.home, but I am still rattling him and he gets impatient with me on visits and phone calls.

    I wish there was a professional of some sort who would answer these questions, but everyone seems to answer me with another question. There is no advice to be found. What do you all think?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  2. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    When my daughter was in foster care we moved, so that kind of helped with the shaking up of things (and one of the stressors that led her to go there, unfortunately). One of the things we did was totally go through her room and throw out anything we thought needed to go, including some broken furniture. We gave her a new bookcase, organized it for her. One of her biggest issues with her room is she gets overwhelmed and instead of picking it up before it gets worse, she just makes it worse. She also hid things a lot, so we took her bed off the frame and it's sitting on the floor so she can't shove stuff under it. She had broken the wall with the door handle, and had been stuffing food in the hole (we had to break the wall when we moved, took out the rotten food and patched it up).

    We had to make sure that there were no places she couldn't go, because we can't really stop her much, she's broken locks and figured out the combo locks pretty quickly. We had to make sure everywhere was safe. Right now the garage is off limits to her unless we're in there with her, but it's still filled with boxes from moving, camping gear and husband's computer hoarding pile. It's not friendly anyway. We made sure the gates were locked with padlocks (I need to change the combos again, but it stops her from just leaving quickly, but at least it looks good to CPS).

    The whole experience of foster care itself really shook her up. They took her because she lied about being hit, when she had hit herself. It would have been easier for us if it had been "therapeutic" and not forced based on false accusations, but it helped her see that we're actually pretty decent parents to not take for granted. She was spanked and yelled at in foster care. She cried herself to sleep every night. Now she has stopped totally lashing out at me, although the lying hasn't stopped in the slightest. She's a little more helpful around the house, but only a little.

    I wouldn't shake things up too much, seeing the comfort of one's stuff may be helpful for his transition back home. But yeah, use it as an opportunity to get rid of the stupid stuff and broken toys that he lets build up. But don't take too much away. I know too many people who can't let go of anything because their mom (always the mom, don't know why) took away their toys when they were a kid and they never got over it. My husband has that problem. He went somewhere and his mom threw away all his models that he spent so much time making. She did that quite a few times, never had any respect for his stuff. Now I can't even get him to throw away a magazine.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This must be so stressful for you!

    Each time our difficult child was hospitalized - the psychiatric hospital would advise us to play "Fresh Start" {Oh how I HATE that phrase!} and they would tell us to clean the bedroom and make sure the house was nice and welcoming and pretend like nothing happened so that we could all get off on the right foot when difficult child came home. And the first few times - that's exactly what we did and of course it was a DISASTER. difficult child came home - was angry that we had been in her bedroom...and immediately looked for apologies and special priviledges to make up for the horrible things we had done to her by taking her to the hospital.

    The last couple of times? We didn't clean her room - we just went through it and removed anything we didn't want her to have (mostly inappropriate items). We also upped the requirements for chores and set more restrictions - telling her that now that she was home....things would be different. If she didn't like it - she could turn right around and go back.

    For us - the tough approach got much better results than the "Fresh Start - All is Forgiven" approach.

    I would tell you to decide what sorts of "new expectations" you now have - and be ready to welcome difficult child home with a open arms...and a meeting about the "new rules" of your home.

    Good luck! Stay strong!
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Like Daisy, we had been encouraged to give Kanga a "fresh start" and it always ended in disaster. She honeymooned spectacularly at RTC2 and they wanted to send her home. Under the guise of wanting to be sure Kanga understood the rules, we used a family session to review them. She went ballistic complete with death threats and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was stunned.

    I know you want him home but until he can be SAFE in your home, it just sets him up for failure to bring him home too soon.

    My suggestions on what needs to happen first:

    1. Complete psychiatric evaluation including personality and reality testing.

    2. Complete psychiatrist evaluation of his medications.

    3. Weekly in home therapy, weekly group therapy, and crisis therapy all in place.

    4. Complete safety plan implemented (all knives, weapons, medications locked up); high quality locks on your and easy child's bedrooms; extra adults to spend time in the home so you have two adults there as much as possible;

    5. Respite lined up for at least 4 days per month.

    6. Rules and consequences clearly spelled out and posted.

    7. Crisis plan in place including who to call in a nonviolent psychiatric crisis as well as a meeting held with local police so they are aware that you have s violent, mentally ill child and require quick response and that you want transport to the hospital and not an arrest.

    8. Training for you on proper restraint techniques.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I need to read up on the back story of why your daughter is in a placement but my son had such a rotation in and out of my house into group homes during his teen years we kept his clothing in a hefty bag and should have installed one of those rotating doors on the front of the I dont think he ever stayed home more than a month or two at the most before I was calling his case manager to find him another group home.

    You get such conflicting info from therapists because there is no one set cure-all for these kids or we would all have perfect angels by now. If we all knew to do X, then Y and implement Z...well then we would have all done it by now! I always said if they had told me to go dunk myself in a 55 gallon drum of horse dung and that would cure my son, I would have jumped in happily.

    I am assuming that your son was in someway violent for you to get him into a therapeutic foster care setting. Those can actually be a good placement if they have good training. If you cant get whoever sent him there to extend his stay, I would go to the juvenile courts and ask them for help with a CHINS petition. That means a Child in Need of Protection. That should get you some help with locating services that might help you. Does your son get Medicaid by any chance? If he does, that can open doors that other insurance cant open. Depending on how long he has been out of your home at this point, he may be eligible now. At the point of 60 days, he becomes eligible based on only his own income and not your family income unless he comes back to you. Medicaid would open doors to group homes, Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, and psychiatric residential treatment facilities.