I think I am leaning toward removing Son from Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DavidWH, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    I am soooo lost, so much do not want to make a mistake and yet so much miss my Son.

    I have it all planned out if he is discharged by me. From coming home a success to even what I (we) will do if he should happen to go back to his old ways.

    He has been doing great for over 2 months it is like a light bulb went off in his head after he ran away... he really paid for that...

    I hear his desire in his voice of just a hope from me to have some type of plan to come home... I see it both ways.. what if it is fake.. but then I say no way he can or has he ever been able to hold it like this doing this good for so long.
    Then the other hand... what am I saying to him if he truly has done his time and truly has the desire and ability to continue at home, and I make him stay -

    He is talking about asking about transistion - I am scared no matter what I do... But I really do want him home...

    this back and forth thing is tearing me up... and gets worse daily
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    What does the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) say?
  3. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    Well first the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - makes over 5K a month on him - and consistantly tell me... 12 months - the state will pay for 12 months, then they stop paying and we discharge the boys

    So can I really trust what they say? think about that, know what I mean?
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    David, I'd wait a bit. Do a few more home visits but do real home visits -- not out doing and having fun, but staying at home and talking and seeing how things go when he is bored, mad, etc. Your one visit was very busy. It sounded like it was a super visit and he did very good with the times you said no. But you really need to see what will happen when things are slower.

    Imagine what will happen if he comes home and goes back to his old ways. Will you be able to cope? To sending him to another place? To the possibility of a judge saying no more Residential Treatment Center (RTC) chances, it is now juvie?

    The reality is that few kids change that quickly. He's in a very structured setting that makes it much easier to follow the rules. It is much harder for them when they are back in a real world setting with peers to follow. Do you really think he has learned the tools to control his impulses, to not do what he thinks will have him look good to his friends, to truly follow rules?

    I do understand your pain and your need to be with him, but this isn't about you. This about what is best for him. If you truly think he has learned what he needs to learn -- that he can now control his anger and frustration, that he won't do something incredibly stupid to impress a friend, etc. -- then bring him home. If you honestly think he needs to learn more, then you need to leave him.

    I've been in your shoes. I wanted my daughter back home so much it almost killed me. I lived for the one weekend I could see her. I would sit by the phone for an hour before it was time for her weekly call. She would sob to come home, that she'd be better, that all would be good. It took every ounce of strength I had to say no, that I would have to trust the judgment of her team because I honestly didn't trust my own judgment. Then I'd sit and cry for a couple of hours. I wanted her with me more than life itself. The only problem is that the life I would be risking in bringing her home early would have been hers.

    It took my daughter's team 16 months before they felt she was ready to come home. Looking back, she probably should have stayed another few months for a "finishing course." It would have helped her a lot in the long run.
  5. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    I would let them know that you feel as though he is making progress. Explain to them that your hope is that he finishes the program in fewer than 12 months...perhaps 10 months. What are the kids supposed to accomplish in order to finish. Ask them to start to develop a transition/discharge plan. Perhaps you can have your son invested in the goals needed for discharge. Perhaps if he knows the expectations he can work harder to reach the desired goals.

    I don't think you can count on his word that things will be better. It takes a very long time to really change...is he being mistreated? Perhaps he wants to leave so bad because they are able to hold him accountable for his actions...perhaps because they are in a supported structured environment...they can make thihngs hard for him when things don't go his way...

    Talk to the staff--find out their intentions...perhaps you need some type of pep talk...into the value of the program. Don't let your emotions get the most of you...programs like these are very hard to find...I know you miss him....I know it's hard being away....but again...is it a good program...will this time away help him to be more productive in the future?

    It's a hard decision...
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Yes, I would definitely begin talks about a transition to home plan. If there is a plan for when he arrives home, he can have something to look forward to. You must both feel very lost right now. If he really wants to change his life, you'll know. And it won't hurt to take the time to make that change when you both have a goal in sight. Not nearly as much as it would hurt for either of you to fail.

    I think that you also need to think about what needs to happen on your end to prepare for him to come home, and what you're ready for when he gets there. I don't know, maybe this place is a bust, but it seems more like emotion that is guiding both of your right now than common sense. Not that emotions are a bad thing to go with. They're more like a starting block.
  7. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    Thanks.. Want to make one thing clear however... emotions on my end are there yes no doubt.. however I am making myself NOT make a choice based on them.. I have in the past and I will not do it in this situation, if that was not the case he would be home now based on my emotions alone. I know this is not about me it is all about him and his success not only at home but adulthood.

    Couple of other things in my mind:

    First..my main concern is IF he is truly wanting to make the change... and I make him stay... this one is killing me

    Second.. They changed his medications at the exact same time all this new came about, like a light bulb he was able to do what he was sapose to do.

    Third.. His last stint in Juvy was the longest and I think he got something out of it that last time, it took 4 months from time he was out of juvy till he went into Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - and he did not attempt one thing... and swore breaking the law was not worth it. Now saying that.. the home life did not change.. it was HELL

    I said plans... my thought process has gone something like this.

    IF.... he comes home..

    begins High School

    IF bringing him home is a mistake, I pull him out of school, NC offers online High School - He would go to work with me daily and work on school while there, and could get a part time job in the area I am in while I am at work till I leave for the day.

    Needs more structure, back to church Sundays and Wednesdays, getting him involved in church activities and to build relationships.

    ---- I think stating to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that I want to understand the transistion process is someting I can do, like I said above my fear with them is they of course WANT all boys to stay as long as possible.. more $$ while they treat the boys good (no mistreatment) they are a business - and if they lost funding for one boy.. he is gone on the spot... so that is my fear in asking them their opinion... it will not be a real one.. and for sure now this time of year... they have a number of openings... so no way will they say YEA HE IS READY!
  8. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    I just have a couple things to add/consider: first, the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) may get $5,000/month for your son being there, but I would guess that they could fill his bed pretty quickly. Therefore, they'll probably get that amount for the next one too. So...they really may have your sons best interest at heart.

    Next, I agree with Meowbunny, not to take anything away from how well your son is doing there. I'm sure he is and that is a wonderful thing!!! However, he is in a VERY controlled environment. It's much easier to "do what you're supposed to do" when everything is structured and the temptations are not as nearby.

    I also agree with having more home visits--they are very important! My son just returned from an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) placement and I really wish we had more home visits before he was discharged. He's been home two weeks and things are going well. BUT, we've had to be very strict and thank God I have my husband to help me. I could not be this strong without him because it just doesn't come naturally to me. I am very easy-going, but with difficult child that is just not the right thing, so I'm working on it as well.

    I personally wouldn't go against the advice of everyone working with him daily. Bringing him home too soon may not work to his advantage. Follow your instincts, do your best, and stay strong!
  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Hi David~

    I soooo understand the overwhelming desire to bring your child home. Mine was gone from home for 16 months. We finally pulled her against the advise of the staff. We ran out of money, and we felt that it was time. With that said however - your son has not been gone for very long in the big picture. I am of the opinion that 2 months is the 'honeymoon phase'. Most kids can 'keep it together' for a period of 2 months. It was about the 3rd month that my daughter 'took off the mask' and really began to be honest with her counselors. It was then that real therapeutic progress began.

    My second concern is with your exit plan. If your son doesn't make it in public school then you are going to take him to work every day and school him on line. One - teens need peers. The amount of time you would be spending with him would (in my opinion) be very difficult. Destructive perhaps. The isolation would be very difficult for him and you.

    If it were me - I would encourage your son to stay put the remainder of the school year. Then try a transition home in the summer months. By next fall you'll have a much better idea of how he's doing. This would allow him to transition back to 'real life' more gradually. Maybe take on a part time job - volunteer - go to work a few days per week with you, etc.

    My daughter's biggest struggle was living in the real world once she exited her Residential Treatment Center (RTC). It was overwhelming.

    I just can't imagine your son being thrown back into the public school system - personally I think it would be a huge mistake.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If you remove him and it doesn't work out, will he be able to return to this facility or could you afford/have insurance coverage to place him in another?

    I agree that children with neurological disorders rarely, if ever, change overnight as a result of one experience. If they did, most of us wouldn't need to be here! Having the DESIRE to make a change isn't the same as gaining the skills needed to change--it's only the first step. Real change takes time, training, practice in controlled settings, practice in semi-controlled settings, and finally trialing it out in the real world. It sounds like you would be removing him based on his desire to change, but cutting him off from the tools and support people who might be able to help him accomplish that.
  11. Janna

    Janna New Member

    David ~

    You keep mentioning the $5k a month they are getting to keep your son in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but that really is irrelevant right now.

    Your son is in there for a reason. And I tend to agree with SRL and the others, children do not change overnight. My son has been in an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) since AUGUST, the first 2 months the staff didn't understand why he was even there, and it took him until NOW to show true colors. It's called honeymooning.

    Dylan went into this Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) with a treatment plan and an estimated stay time of 8-12 months. I don't care if they're getting $50k a month if what they're doing is working.

    FYI, my oldest son went into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for 12 months, and did awesome. Now he's home, and was arrested for stealing money from his place of employment. He's going to Juvie.

    Kids don't change overnight. I'd wait. Just my .02. I'm sorry, I know your pain.
  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999


    I think this is something you do need to discuss with Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff, and you do *not* need to discuss with your son right now, at least not specifically. He needs to be focused on working the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program. In the meantime, you can absolutely start working with staff on transition - followup care plan, have therapist and psychiatrist lined up, get schooling options ironed out, have an emergency plan in case the return home falls apart. And very *clearly* define what the expectations of him will be at home. Once you and staff have it ironed out, and he's continued to maintain appropriate behavior, then you can all sit down and start going over it with him.

    Two months of "change" isn't, in my humble opinion, real change. How many years of difficult behaviors have you dealt with? He needs to stick with the program he's on and continue to make good choices while dealing with the disappointment of not getting an instant reward in terms of discharge back to home.

    You say that in the four months between juvie and Residential Treatment Center (RTC), he didn't break the law but home life was bad. I don't know what kind of behaviors you were dealing with, but picture taking them to work with you while trying to get him to do school work.

    David, your love and devotion for your son come through loud and clear. I know you miss him and want him to be home and for everything to be "okay". But right now this has to be about what he needs in order to be able to function both as a teen and as an adult. He's already been in juvie - you don't want him to end up there again. Personally, I would err on the conservative side - give him the maximum opportunity to benefit from what Residential Treatment Center (RTC) has to offer. The message you're sending him is that you love him so much that you're willing to sacrifice your own happiness so that he has the chance to benefit from treatment and turn his life around.

    Unfortunately, I would guess the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) has an impressive waiting list of kids waiting to get in. While certainly there is the business side of it, from what you've said it sounds like a good program and I would very seriously doubt they're holding onto kids who don't need to be there.

    What are the goals in his treatment plan? Has criteria been defined for when the treatment team will start looking at discharge?

    Don't let yourself do the back and forth. He is there for treatment and he needs to finish it. If he wants to talk to staff about transition, let *him*. That would be a very positive step - self-advocacy.

    I'm truly truly sorry this is so hard. But if you jump the gun and he comes home before he's ready, this entire experience may end up having been for absolutely nothing.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree that the structure is probably making a big difference. No matter how much he wants to do well, if you take him out and he doesn't do well at home--what are you going to do? Sounds like he's already been in serious trouble. You can keep him out of school (I personally don't think it's a bad idea, especially if he tends to drift towards negative peers), however what are you going to do if he acts out with YOU? Plus you can't really keep in with you all the time. If he gets into trouble with the law again, then what?
    Are you comfortable with his diagnosis? Any mood disorders on the family tree? Substance abuse? Even with all the help he's getting, he could still be misdiagnosed. It's not uncommon for our kids to be overdiagnosed/misdiagnosed. If he is, he could need different medications to help him control himself or with his destructive moods/impulses. Mom was never there--I'm assuming she had pretty bad problems that she could have passed along...
    I do wish you luck, whatever you decide to do.
  14. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    OK, I just spoke to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) senior managment and asked for help... What makes this harder is me being alone, my family thinks he is just a bad kid and will always say keep him there only because they saw what he did to me over the years... having no spouse or the like to talk to and bounce stuff off of is hard as helle..

    I asked them to help me on this.. they are more than willing and have said this is a step most kids take - do well for a couple of months and think they are fixed...

    Justin is one that needs to see a light at the end of the tunnel and I can not give him that.. so they are going to pull out another expectations of daily progress that he gets feedback on daily instead of weekly.. they are going to talk to him today after they have the treatment team meeting and give him more info on what he needs to be working on and try to change his stress of wanting to come home into somehow motivation to keep on keeping on.

    this rotts... but I will not fail him - I just do not want him stressing over this - he stresses it and then has the ability to hide it from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - only I see it.. and he is doing it all in a resectful way... (which is not what he would have done in the past at all!!)
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You mentioned before that you are getting help while he is gone.
    What type of therapy or support group are you using to help you
    keep your perspective? There is often such a tight degree of attachment between a single parent and child that it is extra difficult to detach enough to let the child develop into an independent being. Your son may be the sweetest, kindest and most sensitive boy alive (thanks to your picture, I know he sure
    is one of the cutest!) but alot of what you have shared after visiting with him sounds nicely manipulative. I get the strong
    impression that he knows that your need for his presence is greater than the average parent and that he is playing into that
    need to get back home.

    I don't mean to be unkind at all, David, but he needs to develop a life of his own...a life that may not even include you except for a Christmas visit once a year and a few phone calls. That is the goal. He needs to find his path and head down the road.
    It sounds as though you have made him your path and now is the time for you to develop a new sense of yourself as an adult male
    who happens to have a son...who will be launching is own life in
    four years or so. It is not the time to cling. It is time to
    free both of you for a different healthier future.

    Yes, I do understand the pain and the tears. Conversely, you
    can love your child with your whole heart at the same time you
    live a life suitable for an adult. That demonstrates how adults
    live and sets a healthy example. Hugs. DDD
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, David, sorry you're feeling so torn right now. I'm a single parent, too, and understand the attachment (overwhelming responsibility) we feel battling with the detachment (how much do we let go), especially when there isn't supportive extended family around. {{{{HHUUGGSS)}}} My son hasn't been in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (YET!), and his short stint in juvy this year only gave me a hint of what this must be like for you and Justin. I can only offer you support and of course, my 2 cents.

    I think the previous responses are good ones- rational and practical, without the emotional strings of direct involvement but understanding the emotional side. I think Justin does believe he has changed and is sincere in wanting to do his best. That doesn't mean, though, that he has developed all the tools to be able to actually do it. So, then how would he feel and react if he "fails" (I use that term lightly). It sounds like your talk with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff went well and that communication is good and that they are going to address this issue/concern quickly, with an appropriate plan. I think it's critical (for you and Justin) to start developing a transition plan, establish short-term goals with regular feedback that measures his progression, and for him to know you're doing your part to support him coming home as quickly as possible for his best interest, but not "just to get him out" if it's not in his best interest. Maybe the better the progression, the more home visits he can have and I'd make those home visits more and more like the way it's really going to be when he comes home. These are the measures it would take for me to keep my sanity (emotions in tact), remind me I'm doing what's in my difficult child's best interest, and still feel like an adequate support system for him.

    Maybe he can come home earlier than 12 mos., but I'd evaluate that slowly, little by little. It's a good point to consider what the courts will allow in the future, should he end up having to face them again in the next 4 years. You know he's safe, on the right track, and not getting in trouble right now. You know you are devloping a plan to get him home and keep things progressing. We all can see you love him and are a good parent. Take it slow David- show Justin what a goal (not short term "fix") really is and that you can hang in there, too. A few months of staying in there longer is nothing if it changes the outcome of his life.

    I say all that now- when it's my turn, I hope you'll help me through it!!!
  17. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    DDD beat me to it.

    Single parents with one child (especially same sex) sometimes attach a little too much. Not all do, and not only that mixture, but it's a pretty common thing. My daughter (who is 7) and I are a bit too co-dependent on eachother.

    From your first post I thought that you & your son were a bit too co-dependent as well. The concerning thing is that he is almost 15 and things should be pulling the opposite way.

    No matter how you slice it, you want him back because you miss him. Well, you need to let go. Find some activities to keep yourself busy while your son is getting well. For so many years, your boy was your life. That is the sign of a good parent, and I applaud you (while standing) for that. But, he is coming of age. Time to start letting go and letting him be him. More importantly, find some stuff for you to do that you enjoy. Without him. You need to fill that time and that void. If you don't start now, you will be singing the blues when he is 25 and married and does not call you every day or every week.

    Hang in there David! You are doing great!
  18. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Oh David,

    We have had discharge from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) with little to no transition due to funding issues & it has been ugly. wm hadn't completed the treatment plan; when he had to return to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) it was uglier. In his mind he had graduated & didn't need to be there. Therefore, he wasn't going to work the program.

    When kt went to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we worked out a very formal very detailed transition/discharge plan. It had to be to be successful. AND it took time. kt was in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) a good 11 months before everything was in order & she was ready to "graduate" & come home.

    And when she did come home, we had services here. Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) worker, in home therapist, respite & personal care attendants.

    wm, ultimately, ended up in a foster group home. We are coparenting wm with the foster mum & dad there.

    What I'm saying is that I understand a parent's heart - it's not right for your child not to be living under your roof. None of this is right.

    And having been through this a few or more times, please know that it takes time. It isn't going to come easy nor will it happen quickly.

    While kt was in her last placement, husband & I spent a good 6 or 7 months in therapy alone & together. The strain of the tweedles illness on our personal lives was extreme. Personally, I was at the end of my rope. Our marriage was shaky - fragile. The whole family was fragile. We spent this time rebuilding ourselves...our lives. Our personal interests; our marriage. It was healing.

    And it's important for a parent to use this time to do this. We also shut out the outside noise - you know, the comments from family & friends about our children. These people weren't living our lives. Could only see from the outside in & comments of a negative nature weren't helpful.

    When it came time to work the transition home, it was worked out slowly. It started with short visits & slowly moved to overnights. Then to weekends & onto week long visits. There were expectations. And it was the same old daily life that kt would be living once she was here. The dishes, cleaning room, laundry & then the fun stuff. There wasn't constant amusement (as Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s tend to offer our little wonders); kt had to learn to be bored & then to amuse herself. She had to become a part of the family once again.

    I'm not saying that it isn't time to transition your difficult child home; only you, the psychiatrist & the tdocs at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will know that. Mostly it's going to show up in your difficult child. I'd love to see your difficult child show the same improvement in your home setting on a consistent basis during transition visits.

    Good luck with your decision - this is hard. We all want our children home again. Sometimes our children are ready....sometimes they aren't.
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    Yup - rotts to be a parent of a child who seems to be able to obey rules well enough to make you doubt why you EVER would have let him out of your personal care to begin with.

    You've been given a lot of good advice - Some say let him stay, some say bring him home. I would like to suggest that you post in Parent Emeritus or Substance Abuse threads and ASK the parents who have been there done that about taking a kid out of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) without him completing the program and EARNING the right to come home. See what kinds of posts and advice you get asking the parents who did what you are contemplating. See how it has impacted them and their lives and the lives of their children now much older than yours.

    In closing - a therapist may not be such a bad idea - rather they can give you some insight into how your son ticks, thinks, and help you formulate a plan for both you and your sons future.

  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member


    I have been through NC Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. I have had to bring mine home too early for various reasons. Once or twice because he begged and I fell for it.

    Find some of my posts on the PE board and read them. You dont want to be in my shoes in 4 or 5 years. While completing a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program is not a guarantee that your son will come out fixed, caving in will only hurt him in the long run. My son learned that there were no consequences to his actions. Now he is dealing with the big boys.