I'm reading about parents who did send their child to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC)...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Dollhouse, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    ....And I'm sitting at my desk at work crying; beating myself up for NOT doing that last year.

    I wanted my son to graduate high school so badly, so that at least he had a H/S diploma. All the while, knowing that he needed help and that I should have sent him away, but I was too scared. I put my fear first, instead of trying to help my child.

    I know you're going to say that what's done is done and that I should not play the 'would have/should have/could have' game, but the fact remains that I did nothing. Oh, I did try therapy with him on and off with-different therapists since 6th grade -- but I/we never stuck to it long enough. Since he was little, there was always a problem. He has a learning disability, and has had behavioral issues since he was small. I tried my best to search for help I guess I did not do enough.

    A lot of what I am going through is my fault. My son said to me about two weeks back, during an argument "stop being my friend and be a parent. You threaten and do nothing..you are pathetic".

    He was right....I could have done something so many times and did not.

    Sorry -- venting -- I had to get that out.. I'm just facing what I did/didn't do and it's coming to the surface emotionally.
  2. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Doll,
    just wanted to let you know that I sent my dtr to a highly regarded Residential Treatment Center (RTC) out in Utah (we live in upstate NY) when she was 16 and she spent 8 1/2 months there. She did great there but relapsed worse than ever when she returned home. She ended up in a dual diagnosis facility in our state when she was 17 and managed to get her GED there. When she left that facility she was nearly 18 and moved out of our house with her boyfriend and took up where she left off before going.

    Just wanted you to know that an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is no magic cure and it is not always successful, in fact I think the success rate is actually pretty low. What it did do for us was give us a break and it allowed my younger dtr to show us all the problems she had been bottling up all that time while we focused on the older dtr.

    Also, I guess it did give my dtr a toolbox so to speak--she could use what she learned at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) if she chose to. I often wish I had not spent the incredible amount of money that we did to send her--we now cannot retire--we took out a loan for $70,000 dollars (spent 50,000 at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) and live paycheck to paycheck. I can't afford to send my younger dtr to college, we spent all the money on her sister. I'm not sure it was worth it. She is doing much better but for all I know she might have done better anyway with maturity!

    So, please don't kick yourself too much--you really don't know what the outcome would have been had you sent your difficult child to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

  3. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Hi Doll -

    There are not very good empirical studies to prove/disprove the effectiveness of Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Our daughter went to one on the other side of the country for 16 months - and to be honest - when she returned home she picked up right where she left off.

    About the only thing I credit the program for was keeping her alive - she was actively suicidal.

    My daughter got better when she decided it was time to get better. She had to make up her own mind about the direction of her life.

    It does no good to second guess our choices as parents. We do the best we know how to do at the time. Take the lessons you've learned and try to implement them now.
  4. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Yes, this is basically what happened with my dtr. You have a good way with words, GG!

  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Count me as one who sent their daughter to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but it wasn't a magic cure. As with GG, I do believe it saved her life.. she had overdosed several times over a vew months... so from that standpoint, I have no regrets sending her. However, when she got back and started back at school, I got a call her FIRST DAY BACK that she'd been caught in the parking lot smoking pot. It was downhill from there. The thing that finally turned her life around was getting pregnant.

    We all make choices based on what we know at the time, and what we think is best at the time. That's all we can do. We can't take those choices back, good or bad.. and we have to accept that. You did what you thought was best at the time, so don't beat yourself up too badly for that. It may or may not have changed things.. you simply can't know.

  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Please be gentle with yourself. You did the best you could with what you had, and when you knew better you did better. I know you know that, but I hope it helps to know that we understand.

    Another one whose difficult child is in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), in my case, a permanent assisted-living arrangement. No, it's definitely not a cure-all. Honestly, I think the best thing about my difficult child's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is the 24/7 supervision, high structure and constant monitoring, which are impossible to provide in a home setting.

    Whenever difficult child comes home for a visit, even a short one, he regresses. Home for more than a few days, and he's right back to square one. It's one of those "He can work very well, when cornered like a rat in a trap" kind of situations. He does well only because he has to.

    It's definitely not a magic bullet, and the financial burden is downright SCARY.

  7. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Doll - we can only do the very best that we can do. None of the decisions we make/made were with the intent to do our kids harm.

    Residential Treatment Center (RTC) might have worked - or not. Therapy might have worked - or not. There are no guarantees whatsoever.

    I think goldenguru has it right on. Or at least I hope she does, because that's all that's left for my son. 14 years of therapy, so many hospitalizations I've lost count, 9 years of Residential Treatment Center (RTC), opportunity after opportunity for my kid to learn to live with his illness, and he's thrown it all away. Absolutely breathtakingly heartbreaking - I can't even begin to tell you. His choice. There isn't a single thing I could have done differently to get a different outcome because he is utterly uninvested in his own life.

    Around here, it's triage time now. Save those who can be saved, who *want* to be saved.

    Hindsight isn't always 20/20. Please be kind to yourself.
  8. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Dear SLSH --

    I am in tears. I don't know your story, but my God; I am so, so sorry. I cannot even begin to imagine what you've gone through.

    Are you doing alright at this point and time? I wish I could hug you (all of you for that matter).

    I just wonder if my child will have the same outcome; being 'uninvested' in his life. It scares the heck out of me.

    You are one strong, courageous lady. I'm sure at times it never felt that way, but you are too me and I don't even know you.

    Blessings and many hugs,
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Doll...though I have no personal experience with this, I wanted to send many soft hugs. We do the best we can with the information we have available. Please don't beat yourself up.
  10. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Doll - not courageous, certainly not strong (just ask the folks on the board, LOL - they've seen me at my very wimpiest over the years). It's all relative. For example, I am in awe of single parents. Truely. While I know we do what we have to do, I simply cannot imagine having to raise a child, much less a difficult child, on my own. I think it would bring me to my knees.

    I'm hoping that the uninvested part isn't the final outcome. I'm hoping that like guru's daughter, my son will finally put to use the skills he does have to get it together. For us, it's time to pull back and let him do things for himself. Me making all the calls and setting everything up for him sure didn't work. ;) While I wish he would do them because it's the right thing to do and what he needs to do, I think he may only do them when everything else fails. And he's a really creative kid when it comes to doing everything *except* what he needs to.

    It's tough. I honestly thought up until about a year ago that him turning 18 would be a relief. A reprieve, you know? That he'd finally be responsible for his own life. Joke's on me, and I'm not laughing much these days.

    But - 18 is still really very young. Hopefully these man-children of ours will get on with living. Sooner rather than later would be nice, but I ask for a lot. ;) But it's incredibly hard to watch them take wrong turn after wrong turn.

    I feel very lucky in that I've watched parents travel this path for the last 10 years here on the board. These folks have been there done that. The only thing I know for sure is that I have absolutely no control over his choices now and I have to sit back and shut up with- him. (I actually, honest to goodness, have "SHUT UP" written on an index card and taped to my desk.) And as much as it just wrecks me to not rescue him, I have stopped doing that. He is the only one who can improve his quality of life.

    It's a heck of a journey but at least we're in good company. :flowers:
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    We can all do this to ourselves no matter the decisions no matter the choices no matter the outcome.
    Like every one else has said, we all have tried our best.
    I had to put my 6 yo in a psychiatric hospital for 5 weeks because she was hallucinating and having suicidal ideations. Her and I lived in a Hotel during that time.
    I feel it was a horrible choice.
    The psychiatrist was terrible.
    I second guess our letting the psychiatrist's put my baby on over 19 medications... she is only 7.5!
    But I have learned. I can't sit here and beat my self up. I thought I was doing the right thing.
    Yeah there are some nights I sit and cry. I feel horrible for her and our situation.
    But I have to have hope.
    We can only hold on to hope for our kids.
    Even if we have to detach from them one day.
    We can still stand back and hope for them to figure it out.

    Hang in there. You are a Warrior Mom just fighting for your child.
  12. judi

    judi Active Member

    Its natural to play "what if." My son is one of the older ones, almost 24 now. He was in counselling from age 7 on, medications out the wazoo, too many counselors, expelled from regular school, and alternative school, went to jail a couple of times, was hospitalized multiple times, went to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) twice. And...what do we have now? Not much - we know (or think) he is still in IL but have had no contact with him since June 08.

    Yes, indeed I know all about "what if." My husband is the only one who understands that we grieve for what could have been and worry about him. I won't move or change my phone number for fear I will miss a call. Yet, I know he won't contact me.

    Please don't be too hard on yourself - we are all in the same boat and we all share the same pain. I'm sorry you had to join us but we do provide support for each other.
  13. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    My story is very similar to Judi's---my son will be 21 in May. He has run the gamut from psychiatric hospitals to rehab to jail. I did all I know to do. He dropped out, but did return to Adult Ed and got his diploma. He is right now doing well. He is working, contributing, and investing in his own life. It took stepping back and allowing natural consequences to take control before he began to accept responsibility for his actions. It was the hardest thing in the world to do---but it was easier than trying to help and not getting anywhere.
  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Each of us has our own regrets and "if only's."

    Rob went to a dual diagnostic Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for a year and he had the best therapist there ever. She really worked minor miracles. Then he went to a group home for another year and his therapist there "un-did" all of the good the previous therapist accomplished. My then-husband and I were tearing out our hair.

    After Rob signed himself out of the program (he was almost 19 by then) he had one failure after another. It took him being evicted time after time, being homeless, being fired over and over, being hungry, for him to realize that he needed to pull HIMSELF up by the bootstraps and grow up.

    Doll, read the archives to this forum. Read the archives to the General forum. In General you will find our histories as we posted when our kids were younger. In the PE archives you will benefit from what we've learned.

    I think the best thing we've learned over the years is to forgive ourselves...for making mistakes...for making the wrong decision now and then... for being human.

    Forgive yourself. As the quote in my signature says and what we all quote..."when we knew more, we did better."

  15. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It sounds like your regrets of the past may be fueled more by fear of the future. It's terrifying to see your child start down the path of self destruction and non function. Unfortunately, we can't predict the future.
    All we can do is ask ourselves "what does my child need?" Try to provide those supports and help. Some of our kids pull out of it and manage and some of our kids don't. Some of us found out that if they don't, it's upsetting but they are still loved and the world doesn't stop.

    So as your son says,"be a parent". Tell yourself you made the right decisions at the time and move forward. Beating yourself up wastes energy that could be used elsewhere. It's ok to admit to mistakes(if they were) and then move on.

    I don't want you to think I am saying don't grieve, don't have regrets, don't evaluate what brought you to this point. We all do that but if it gets to point where "it" ends up diluting your focus then it really cripples you and ends up not helping difficult child.

    One of the strategies I had when I thought my life was going down the drain because I couldn't fix difficult child was feel sorry for myself for one day. Wake up the next and start over. Make a list of what issues you feel need addressed, then a list of what you can do to help difficult child.
  16. compassion

    compassion Member

    I find Nami so helpful:so many are parents with young pwoplw 18-in their twenties. In Nami Parent to Prent class, I love the saying "You couldn't have known what you were not told" My difficult child is currently in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (at 15) . It is keeping her off the strrets, off of drugs and adherent with medications . She has not had a hoome visit yet:we see her muliple times a week and talk daily.
    I am in the porcess of getting SSI/medicaid which will be a huge help: it will pay for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) plus other swervices. Plus, we can decuct the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) on taxes.
    I am now rally happy I have this chance becsue I have heard do many parents sy after 18, so much less input.
    We are usisng this time to have extrsnsive testing doen: do deal with her educaitonal issues, medical issues. She wants to be back by fall and try pubilc high school (alwasys been homeschooled). I am putting togeh half day school awith IOP (intensive outpatient).
    i know ehat you mean: I wanted her to findih bvollyeball season and do club vollyball but when she kept running away and putting herself in danger, and was missing vollyeball,etc., I figure it had to be done.
    I really needed to apply for SSI/and get her on the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) list sooner as psychiatrist advised but it is so painful to do that. I did set limits and enforced them but her BPI went wild aroudn her 15th birthday. Compassion
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    First of all, I know this is easier said than done...but as soon as you can and as best as you can...please do not blame yourself for anything. This includes things in the distant past and things in the not so distant past. In addition, don't compare yourself or your family with another.

    We sent our son to a TBS. It was an extraordinarily difficult and complicated decision. There were good moments and not so good ones. The owner had his own problems. We found out later some of the details. And honestly, the situation there was CRAZY and COMPLICATED. This is the UNDERSTATEMENT of the year. Our son left early and we finished up with a really good therapist locally. He did benefit from going to a TBS, but it took its toll on us emotionally and we are still paying the price financially. I am grateful for the help the experience provided on our son, but it took a pound of my hide and my life.

    It's NEVER too late to learn from your mistakes...but the decision whether or not to send your son to a TBS is not something in my humble opinion to worry about needlessly. To be truthful about it, my son is the EXCEPTION to his class. The EXCEPTION. MOST of the students in his class, continue to do drugs and be oppositional. It is A SAD AND HORRID FACT!

    Like GG said...most of these programs just simply keep the kids safe and perhaps give mom and dad a breather....and opportunity to get their own therapy if needed.

    If you feel that you should not be your son's friend...go ahead and take this advice.

    However, don't beat yourself up over this. You did not have bad intentions.

    If your son is taking advantage of your good spirit...that is on him...not you.

    You can set an example for your son at this point, by refusing to listen to inappropriate verbage. Let him get therapy and decide to make good choices in life. Let him see you doing the same. Let him see you be an example of good self esteem. A role model of good self esteem. This will mean not listening to others (including him) try to beat you down by saying that you were not a good parent. YOu did the best you could. I'm sure you will provide counseling and/or educational experiences if he asks for it...and this is what a good parent would do. He needs to stop complaining and start doing what he needs to do to further his education or work or whatever is appropriate...not tear you down. Don't listen to him spew anything negative towards you and likewise don't allow yourself to speak to you in that manner either.

    One more thing...what REALLY made a difference...the BIGGEST difference by far for our son, was when he decided/made a personal decision for change. We did the "tough love" thing. He also had a very good therapist at the time helping him. HE got a pt job and was taking a college course. HE had no extras from us. We could "see" the changes taking place with-i him. THAT made the biggest difference in our son by far. It was HIS own choices. In the mean time...I was moving on and refused to take any responsibility for his #$@!.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 21, 2009
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My kid was another one of the hard one's along with slsh's. He was in and out of group home's, psychiatric hospitals, wilderness camps, and finally Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Then came jail. All the treatment didnt do a darned thing except give me the knowledge that I tried my hardest to give him the tools handle his life. Will he use them? I dont know. He appears to be trying more now after his latest brush with the legal system but only time will tell if it took. Residential Treatment Center (RTC) kept him safe for a while. It did show him that he was responsible for his choices....for a time. And here, by the time he got out, he was seen as an adult in the legal system so that did make a difference.