Hmmm....I could use opinions

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I just got a letter from difficult child. He said at the end of the letter that he had something to tell me that was too difficult to tell me in person or on the phone: he thinks he does see a change in himself this time of year.

    Ok, there are three things now that he has told me are just too difficult to talk about and he's not ready to talk to a therapist about them yet because they are so hard for him to deal with. They are 1) this change he notices- but he also told me last visitation that he thinks he sees it in others too and me for one but he knows we seem to always have some difficult issue this time of year to deal with. So, I do agree that he is not the only one that seems to get bummed out this time of year, 2) his difficulty with peers as far as making friends and his perception that most kids treat him bad- personally, I think he is VERY sensitive to any comment but kids do treat him differently sometimes because he does not act like he feels like he fits in (he kind of has a complex and handles it by bragging about stuff he's done illegal, which of course makes it worse), and 3) that he's recently realized that he has a self-esteem problem

    I have encouraged him to discuss these things with therapist but have tried not to pressure him to much. I had told therapist before that I thought he had these issues- I've told all profs that I think he does. However, I have not told therapist that difficult child is telling me he now believes it bb/c I knew she would immediately ask him about these things and difficult child would feel I had betrayed him. I was comfortable that difficult child was working toward telling his therapist himself. But, I think difficult child felt he needed to retaliate against me when we would get too close to these subjects and he gets mad and tells therapist that the reason these things happens is because I'm too strict and over-protective. Actually, he came right out and said that the reason he had no friends was because of that and he said that in front of therapist last session. I see this as a defense mechanism but therapist believes it is true.

    I had wondered if difficult child was just manipulating me because what he seemed to be telling me and therapist just didn't match but I honestly believe him at this point. So, my question is how would you handle things with therapist? She is supposed to call me tomorrow or Thurs. and I have a feeling it's to try to convince me that I'm in denial about difficult child and my being too strict and not letting him grow up. I am in full disagreement but I don't want to betray difficult child's confidence. I don't think he's to the point of needing to be back on medications or that he's a danger to himself or anything so I don't view it as a crisis, which I think more than justifies telling profs whatever the difficult child has said or done.

    I tend to want to just play along with her until we get difficult child out of there, then see again if we can find a male therapist who he might open up to. But, I am a little worried about difficult child getting released to parole with this therapist's recommendations that are based on her perception that I drove difficult child to illegal activity. on the other hand, I hope I have not just convinced difficult child that he has these issues when maybe he really does not- but that's when I think about how all this started several years ago and I kind of reassure myself that I was not telling him these things or taking him to profs before he started acting troubled and having difficulties, then later breaking the law.

    So, what would you do? I've even thought maybe I'll just tell therapist and PO that difficult child is confiding in me about things he isn't ready to discuss with therapist yet and I am not comfortable with any therapist recommendations until difficult child has reached a point of working on these other things.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Based on my experience with teenage boy difficult child's, your son is expressing
    what the majority of boys that age feel. Any therapist or expert working with teenagers "in the system" already knows how important peer interaction is to boys and girls at that age. The bragging (whether based on truth or exaggeration) is as common as sexual arousal. The "system" has testing that they do that pinpoints the feelings that your son has...and my gson had... in a NY minute.

    Nobody can "cure" the concerns that your son has. If the experts don't already know what he is feeling then I wouldn't give a thought to sharing his confidences. He is 100% normal for the circumstances. Time and maturity are the only route to relief of that stress. I hope and pray that he is able to "move on" and capitalize on his strengths BUT "they can't do it" and "you can't do it". Your son is in the drivers seat and it's a tossup on how it will all end up.

    It is encouraging that he is "sharing" with you. During this release prep time, however, I think you need to accept that you can not determine his future, you can not protect him from the world and you can not protect the world from him should he opt to travel the wrong road. Have faith and prepare happily for the next phase of your lives. DDD
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, I just finished writing difficult child the longest letter I've ever written him. It's going in with a card about a person finding strength they didn't know they had. A lot of the letter was about more light-hearted topics to respond to a few other things he had written me about.

    Then, I told him I'd received a call from his old therapist who's doing difficult child's IEE and he should be seeing him within a couple of weeks. I talked about mood changes this time of year being common for a lot of people and that if he noticed any change in himself, he should tell his old therapist during their talk. I talked about it not necessarily meaning he is bipolar or that he needed to go back on medications but if it turned out that he did, it was not that big of a deal.

    Then, I told him I understood about things being hard to talk about and needing a certain level of comfort before opening up about them to therapist. I also reassured him that these were typical teenage self-doubts that adults understood because we have all been teens before. In regards to friendships and privileges I give him, I first reiterated our individual objectives- his being time with friends (like he has a lot but, ok), more privileges and independence. Mine being his safety, to stay out of trouble, and do the best he can in school. (That might seem controlling to some but I think it's what a parent's objective should be.)

    Then, I tactfully and in a supportive way (I think) talked about how it comes across to me when I see him making friends who do not care about staying safe or out of trouble or what happens at school. I noted that it appears to me that he makes friends with kids like this after something has already started going wrong- like there is a problem that isn't being solved. And when I see this, I am not going to give him more privileges because I know it either means he doesn't care (therefore he doesn't deserve them) or he's trying but is less likely to be able to maintain. (To me, it's like any other privilege- a parent does not give it to the kid if the kid is showing that he/she is not responsible enough to handle it. I know I can't make these choices for him but he's not going to get the same results from me, just like the legal system or the sd, if he makes poor choices instead of good ones.)

    If his goal is to make friends who try to stay out of trouble and have a future for themselves but he's having trouble making friends like that, then I told him I thought a therapist or his future mentor (who will be a man) could help with that, once he opens up to someone. When I see that he is trrying to make friends like that and making good choices for himself, he will get more independence and privileges.

    Then I told him I understand being angry and saying a bunch of stuff to me but that some things were real issues so if he wants to think about it and write this stuff out and let me know what were the bigger issues to him, that would be fine. (I only brought that up because in therapy sessions, all I seem to get is an attack from him and therapist looking at me like I'm a horrid parent then looking at me like she doesn't believe me if I try to correct anything he said or give reasons why I did stuff- like take away his cell phone.)

    If difficult child can decipher himself what is a vent and what's really bugging him, then tell me so we can work on it, it will help a lot. This therapist is just not going to be involved that long and as I've already told PO, some of this stuff has to be worked out before I'm comfortable bringing difficult child home and once he's home, I CANNOT go back to his needs being a full time job.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Listen K, in all honesty I think he's doing some sole searching because he has lot of time on his hands to think about what he's done, why he's done it, what he wants for his future, etc.

    It's a good thing that he is sharing with you, but he needs to share with therapist. It's a darn shame that you feel therapist cannot be sensative enough to hear what he's saying to you and then try to casually address them over a few sessions with difficult child.

    I don't think that anything he's feeling ise unusual or unique for a teen his age. These are the things kids his age think about, wonder about, and worry about.

    Some of this thinking is good because he can address his concerns with changes in his behavior - for example his interaction with others.

    A really good therapist is needed, in my opinion.

    But K, you can't fix all this for him. I know you are worried. I know you think about this situation all the time and worry what is giong to happen when he gets out. Some of this you are just going to have to give in to and let him struggle through. I hope that doesn't sound too harsh.

  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No, that doesn't sound harsh at all. My concern about it, although not said in this thread, is that therapist recommended I let difficult child do pretty much whatever he wants when he comes home, with the exception of what PO requires. difficult child's history has been to break the law right after he has had his feelings hurt or felt rejected- usually from a peer (this is how he handles those typical teen stresses). I am the one who has to pay resitution and gets the finger pointed at her in front of the judge for not knowing where difficult child was or what he was doing, etc, afterwards and I get threatened to have him taken away from home. Now it is to a point where even him pulling the knife on me was a result of me. So, my response to therapist when this came up was that I would not take legal or financial responsibility for difficult child under those circumstances. In essence, if they require me to let him do whatever he wants under the pretense that it's not in my control and he has to learn to take repsonsibility for himself, then I will not bring him home without something in writing from the PO, GAL and judge that I will not be held liable or financially responsible for any illegal activity he commits- which I am sure they will not do.

    Example: If difficult child stays up half the night (as therapist suggest I don't make issue over) and then doesn't make it to school the next day, I want to know that the GAL isn't going to have charges filed against me for letting my son to be truant.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    K---I'm sorry that you are still not getting the answers you want. It is so very hard to predict how difficult child will act when he gets out. You don't know. The people at Department of Juvenile Justice don't know. Even your difficult child doesn't know. With my difficult child I heard promises every time we brought him home. Fortunately, I understood those promises would be broken and therefore was not hurt when they were. He learned to talk the talk, but never quite grasped how to walk the walk. If our children are not willing to work on themselves first, then nothing in this world, no medications, no counseling, no parenting, no discipline, no punishment, no court will change them. My son is hardwired differently. I have learned to accept that. It makes me crazy at times, but after years and years of trying to fix him or find someone else to fix him or some drugs to fix him, I just had to let go and let him try to fix himself. He has been arrested 8X since he was 14. 6X have been as an adult. He believes the lies he tells himself. He doesn't like society's rules and has fought against following them. I maintain hope each time he is arrested that he will finally learn---I am pessimistically optimistic that one day he will change. I can't give up on him. He is my son and I love him.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah that's true. Unfortunately since things have gotten to a point where I have no choice but to minimize my risk to my own physical safety and finances, it might not be a good idea to pursue him coming home anymore. If he's in a group home, they don't go after them if the kid breaks the law the way they do if the kid lives with the parent. They also don't tell the group home what rules to have or not have in the house. And of course, the kid knows that so he knows that his parent isn't going to get blamed for it- he has no one else to blame but himself.