How to play this?


Our son FINALLY made his status at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and earned a visit home for the weekend. In his group home, he's had the chance to come home every other weekend from day one, but, other than a five-day pass over Thanksgiving, it's taken him the five months since then to get serious about the program, modify his behavior, etc., in order to earn a pass.

The OLD me wants to stock up his fridge, take him out shopping, call all the family for a BBQ, and generally celebrate him being home.

The NEW me is hesitating, because, let's face it, he is NOT the prodigal son returning home for, say, a college break--he's in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

While we want to reward the good progress he's made to get to this point, because it's been a real challenge for him, impulsive as he is, to take control of his behavior, particularly his mouth, which is what gets him into most of his trouble, we also don't want to give him the impression that everyone has been pining for him and are going to drop everything because HE decided to earn a visit.

There must be a middle ground between gushing over him being home and being so blasé as to make him feel as though we really aren't that thrilled to have him home.



(the future) MRS. GERE
I know I sound like a broken record but you simply can't go nuts over this. He is doing what's expected, he didn't win the Nobel Prize. lol.

Coming home should be reward enough. Rob was so thrilled with the smell of his bed. I'm not kidding. He just beamed to be home and in his room with privacy and his "things". Being part of his loving family is a huge reward inandof itself.Do NOT take him shopping but a family meal out might be nice...or a movie...or something like that...AS A FAMILY.

No "old" friends.


It's wonderful news. Make him feel loved and welcome at home. But I would strongly encourage you not to go overboard.



New Member
I agree with Suz. Let him know you're happy he's home. No shopping trips, friends, etc.... Don't let him manipulate you to get what he wants or "needs". Basically, learn from my mistakes. been there done that. It served no purpose other than to make things worse. Mine is the same age as yours, he'll be in Texas for the next 2 years because of some of how I handled things. I hope yours has really learned. Thank goodness he made status and got to come home. Congratulations. You've been strong in this.


Suz, well, I anticipated your and other responses, and I was already half-way there. Thanks again for your good sense.

You are SO right...he certainly has NOT gotten the Nobel prize, nor has he scaled Mt. Everest (my favoriate analagy). Really, he's only doing what he SHOULD have been doing for the past five months, and being home in his own bed (which he said that he is looking forward to) should be reward in and of itself.

What's really odd, but a good sign for my growth I think, is that I really don't WANT to take him out shopping, pamper him, etc. If simply being home with his family isn't enough, then he'd better start planning his future elsewhere.

She said...


Thank you Loris, but do you really think your son is in prison because of something you did or didn't do? I hope not.

I know my husband and I've made mistakes and will probably make more, but I can't imagine that anything we could say or do at this point would make a difference as to whether or not our son goes on to become a solid citizen or ends up in prison.

I HOPE you're not blaming yourself.

As for us, we simply don't want to slip back into our old habit of taking a negative situation our son has generated by his behavior and turning it into Disneyland.

Thank you for your kind words. I must say again that I think my strength has, in good part, been because we have been fortuante to have our son ordered into a wonderful program with terrific staff, and we haven't had to deal with him face-to-face on a daily basis.


Thank you RM. Again, I sort of figured that all you have
been there done that would all advise this approach. The fact that I was leaning in that direction is, I feel, a credit to you all because of what I have learned here on these boards.

I must say that I'm ready to do cartwheels about our son's visit home (EXTREMELY difficult if not impossible at my age), but I'm determined to keep things low key as, surprisingly, I was able to do when our son called a couple of nights ago to announce that he had made his status and earned a weekend pass. In fact, I was SO low key that he asked me why I didn't sound that excited about his visit home!


New Member
Camom, I don't really totally blame myself, it's just that I wish I would have been able to get a head start on his issues, maybe. He has been in Texas for 6 weeks, yet has been in trouble for Z/Tourette's Syndrome for 5 of those weeks. I was freaking out over his letters because of how upset he was and called his therapist. Thank goodness I have enough knowledge to make sure he didn't know I was calling but their news wasn't what I wanted to hear. They do believe he is well on his way to anti social personality, he has no remorse at all. They can keep him until he's 22 years old or 25 if he stays through the courts. He's 17, so it's scary. I do know you know what I mean.
I'm glad your son asked why you didn't sound excited, it means he's aware and thinking, in my humble opinion. I really hope he has learned from this. Since he finally made status, that's a good sign. I'm thrilled to hear that. I do know that our difficult children make their own choices, it's just hard sometimes to know how to handle what is illness and what to do, if we can do anything.


member since 1999
CAMom - another one who agrees wholeheartedly with- Suz. Coming home needs to be reward enough. We used to try to plan activities from dawn til dusk when thank you came home for a home visit, but that is just so unrealistic. Not only are we homebodies by nature, but he came to expect that we'd be Disneyland parents every visit. He's told me on more than one occasion that a home visit is a "vacation from the stress of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)". Somehow, I don't think that's the purpose of a home visit. :wink:

Home visits now mean he slides into the normal dull routine around here - the other kids' activities, chores, a DVD on Sat nite, maybe a walk with- me, etc. Probably the only thing we do out of the ordinary is a fast food meal.

The point here isn't how thilled you are that he's home, it's how thrilled *he* should be at having finally earned the privilege to spend the weekend with- the family. in my humble opinion.


Psycho Gorilla Dad
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I know I sound like a broken record but you simply can't go nuts over this. He is doing what's expected, he didn't win the Nobel Prize. lol. </div></div>

I agree, and have heard this myself several times from others about my son. Lately, whenever he acts like he should (instead of acting out), we treat him like he just cured cancer. difficult child's therapist has suggested we tone this down a bit, because even if my son's difficult child-ness goes into "remission", the real world will only reward normally expected behavior with normally expected compensation.

We can let him know we're happy for the positive changes in his life, maybe do something small, but helping him set unreasonable expectations about the results of normally expected behavior would only set him up for problems later in life (so says his doctor).

Just my two pennies.



New Member
I would have what he likes to eat, make him a few favorite meals, and yes have family around as I'm sure they would like to see him as well, but I wouldn't be bringing him out on a shopping spree. I would also be sure to set a few ground rules with him, before he walks in the door. ie: who he can and cannot hang around with, and where he is and isn't allowed to go on his visit home. Let him know up front that it took him a long time to earn this priviledge and you are expecting him to follow all rules, or you will bring him right back and it will be a long time before he earns another one.

What weekend is he coming home anyway? Is it this one? I'm sure you are a little, or should I assume a lot, anxious after so long.

Hope it all goes well and you are able to spend some quality time with your son.


Thanks all, and, Karen, yes it's this weekend which, according to Mikey and others is some sort of unofficial pot-smoker's holiday. It HAD to be this weekend...

However, even though he was tempted, he said, when he was home for Thanksgiving, he tested clean upon his return, and I don't think he'd risk it now, so close to the end of his program.

His program coordinator is fairly flexible about home visits, once they earn them, and simply asks that he tell us where he's going and whom he's with and that he is home by 10:00 pm. His PO, however, can override that if she wishes. We don't know yet what the rules will be, but his PO is scheduled to visit him today and will be discussing them with him.

Unless his PO contacts us directly, I believe we're going to TRY to step back and leave those rules and the following of them completely up to him in keeping with the spirit that, at almost 18, he needs to take responsibility for himself and his actions. This may be easier said than done...


Active Member
CA Mom,

We also did the favorite meal, and even had grandmas over to see him, but that was the extent of "going overboard" for his visits.

In my son's case, he was told by the therapist at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that he was only allowed to leave our home with one of his parents or with his AA sponsor (which was one of the mandatory steps on his first home visit - to attend a meeting and find a sponsor and have the sponsor fill out a sheet).

We had a sheet to fill out at the end of each and every weekend visit, as did he asking how it went, etc.

The idea of a home visit is to try to incorporate him back into family life, albeit less argumentative and drug and alcohol free.

Good luck! I'll be thinking of you and your family. Let us know how it goes.



Well-Known Member
As Suz said, just being in his own room probably will be a great
feeling. It sure was for easy child/difficult child. That, and having access to
the food and drinks of his choice. LOL! Truthfully we had no
problems when he was on home visits because they were short. We
did obviously have problems once he was back in "his" society.

I don't know if it is an issue at your house but one thing to analyze is the darn cell phone and the computer. easy child/difficult child had a
zillion phone calls and I had forgotten to make a cutoff time for
his phone the first visit. He was not a happy camper being cut
off from his he used the computer to chat! Sigh!

I hope your visit is pleasant and he will recognize that you and
husband have lived without him and can live without him. If he sees
that without could be a powerful message. DDD


New Member
I also have to say, that difficult child came home for all of 5 hrs and expected me to entertain her for the whole time. We went for lunch and a walk at the beach with her brother and then came home, which she was unimpressed about. She complained that I didnt do anything with her, and I stressed to her that it was also my day off and that I wasnt there to entertain her and needed some down time myself. Lifes a b***h. Or should I say, reality.



New Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DDD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I hope your visit is pleasant and he will recognize that you and
husband have lived without him and can live without him. If he sees
that without could be a powerful message. DDD</div></div>

Very well put DDD. This will be a strong message that will show him that his manipulative tactics won't work with you anymore.

You have survived and have actually enjoyed the peace and quiet, haven't you :smile:

Ahhhhh, what a great feeling!!!!


Active Member
Hope your visit goes well. I am so proud of you CaMom. You sound so peaceful, so at ease with all of this. It's you who we've seen come so far.

I'm sure your difficult child has come a long way too though :salute:

I wouldn't worry to much about entertaining him. A few home cooked favorite meals and a few fast food places and I'm sure he'll be happy. Keep the restaurants for another time. The shopping....he can live with what he has.

Better for him to know that you are not the same people he left. You've changed too. You are on to his ways and you are and will remain in control.


Thank you all for your support.

Just want to let you all know that his PO gave him VERY strict rules for this visit home as compared to his first, even though things went very well that first time. She followed up with a phone call to us after speaking to him, so we all knew the drill. When we picked him up this morning, he only baulked a bit at the restrictions, and then, amazingly, dropped the subject.

I must say he's been awesome about complying, so far. There have been at least 20 or so friends who have called and/or dropped by to to see him. Some, he's invited in, some he's talked for for a few minutes outside, but he's made it clear that he plans to follow the rules and thus can't go anywhere with them.

He's been happy to have the use of his phone, computer, and TV and, so far, has said that he simply wants to be home.

We've been very pleasantly pleased so far, but, I suppose this could be considered a "honeymoom phase."

So far, so good...but we have two more days to go....


New Member
Hope the next two days go just as well. Glad he's following the rules and not trying, yet anyway, to con you into allowing him to do anything he isn't supposed too.

Hmmmmm, do you think maybe he learned something??????