JT's ADHD and Risk-Seeking Behavior

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WearyWoman, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Hi all,
    I've been away from the forum for a while, as work has been keeping me super busy. Never a dull moment at home though!

    JT is in trouble again for an accident that damaged property. He could have been seriuosly hurt.

    JT is taking Concerta for ADHD, which is helpful for the hyperactivity, but not so much for the impulsivity and risk-seeking behaviors.

    Generally, JT has been doing well in school and at home. He is earning a 3.5 GPA, and he is well liked by his teachers and friends. He is smart, funny, and very outgoing. At home, he works hard doing his chores and tries to be a good big brother to Bubby. We don't have a ton of problems with ODD any more.

    BUT . . . over the past few years, we've certainly had a lot of issues, because JT periodically gets into big trouble.

    For example, he stole a lot of money repeatedly and an ipod from his teammates in the locker room. It was reported to the police, he was fined, and then he was assigned to community service. That ended up costing around $600, plus he has a juvenile record now.

    We had to take his cell phone away because he was involved in sexting with a number of girls. We caught him looking at porn on the computer and had more parental controls installed. He can no longer use the computer without supervision. He has also downloaded terrible music with lyrics about things I can't even share, which we do not allow.

    Recently, he and a friend were experimenting in our garage with flammable liquids to see what would happen if they lit them up.

    Just weeks after getting his drivers license, we allowed him to take our vehicle and get it filled up with gas at a station only a couple of miles from our house. He was stopped for speeding - going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone (windy side road) and was fined $200.

    This past fall, he was suspended from school for hazing a freshman teammate, which utterly shocked me, since he is so opposed to bullying. Some of you may remember me posting about that.

    He is constantly harassing us to let him do things that are more adult-like hobbies and activities that carry safety concerns. Things like using a chainsaw, taking a boat out on the water by himself, welding, fixing up an old car, ice fishing alone overnight, etc. He is totally obsessed with this stuff and really believes he can do anything. I believe he is getting some sort of thrill with doing risky things.

    Fast Forward to Ten Days Ago:
    JT was working with some friends in the woods to remove some logs from a trail. Before he left, I told him how important it was that he stay safe, and he assured me that he would. They were using chainsaws to cut the trees that had fallen on the trail, and at some point, they decided to ride on the friend's four-wheelers.

    When JT and his friend came home, the friend mentioned that JT had hit a tree, and they were joking about it. JT quickly corrected his friend, stating that he had only hit a "branch". I noticed JT had a large mark across his face, and I asked if that was from the alleged "branch". He said it was, and I asked how he could get such a mark when he was wearing a helmet. He didn't have a good answer. My anntena went up, and I told him that I felt uncomfortable that this had happened and that we probably wouldn't be allowing him to ride four-wheelers or snowmobiles without an adult around any more. Of course he protested severely and said I was overreacting at his little scratch. He also stated that he had tons of experience driving four-wheelers and that there was no way he could have avoided hitting the branch; that it was an accident, but even a professional would have hit the branch. I can't stand it when he talks that way!

    That was 10 days ago.

    Last night, JT's friend's dad called stating that he had discovered the four-wheeler with broken fenders that day, and he learned it was JT who had crashed it into a tree in their woods. JT and his friend did not tell anyone how much damage had been done.

    Obviously, JT hit a tree and not a branch! He could have been killed. He was dishonest, reckless, and once again, put his safety and somebody else's property at risk.

    The damage is estimated conservatively at over $200.

    JT is rarely unsupervised, but whenever we allow him some privilege without supervision, this is what happens. When confronted, he will minimize, deny, and blame. He consistently underestimates risk and overestimates his ability level. He fails to consider the consequences. Each incident is unique and unrelated to any other incidents in his mind. He doesn't see the common thread - that he is impulsively losing control of his judgment and behavior.

    Soon he'll be an adult, and I'm so afraid he'll end up dead as a result of engaging in risky behavior. We won't be able to monitor and supervise him forever.

    JT wants to go to college to become an industrial arts education teacher at the high school level. We support that, but I worry that when he leaves home he won't be ready to manage himself. I have so much fear that he'll make big mistakes and get hurt or hurt someone else. The consequences could last a lifetime.

    How can we help him?
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think you can start by getting him back in to see a qualified child/adolescent psychiatrist to take a long hard look at his medication. If it was simply ADHD, then the Concerta would be addressing both the hyperactivity AND the impulse control. Since it's NOT, that suggests there is another issue at play and it's not being addressed.

    The sooner you get him in for a re-evaluation, the better!

    FWIW, we had a lot of oppositional and provocative behavior from my difficult child 1 until recently. Part of that was exacerbated by having him on the wrong medications that made symptoms worse. We know now that he's got some type of mood disorder at work (bipolar runs in the family, but he doesn't have all the symptoms), besides his ADHD, because he's responding better to the different medications we have him on now.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with gcvmom but also much of that is typical teen stuff just magnified. Seems like your son is a magnet for Murphy's law. Act before thinking. My middle son was a lot like that which is why I didnt let him get his drivers license until he was out of the house. Jamie actually had the stupidity to listen to someone, attached some sort of wire to the ignition of a go cart and it took off and hit the underside of our trailer. Thank heavens no one was on the go cart or they would have been badly hurt! Stupid.

    He is now grown and mostly has more sense now but still sometimes has idiotic moments. But then again, he is a man...lol.

    If I were you, I would check to make sure there are no other issues at play, check for the need for a medication increase or change and if that is all good well then I would move on to some behavior mod.

    If he causes damage, he has to pay for it. If he does something he isnt supposed to do...he has a set punishment. I would take away that license for a while. He isnt showing maturity right now. A vehicle is a loaded weapon.

    Now the idea of him working and fixing a junk car is something that intrigues me. That might be a good project for him. Get a real clunker that doesnt run at all. Then get a Chilton's manual for that car. That way he doesnt need the internet. I would probably get the car from the junkyard. Let him get a part-time job to buy the parts he needs. As he learns to fix this car, he will be learning so much about everything. Money, repairs, engines, etc. It will be a very good experience. The worse thing that can happen is that he gives up or he gets a few cuts and bruises.
  4. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    You could be writing about my youngest I fear in a couple of years. My youngest is on the fetal alcohol spectrum. what you describe is totally consistent with Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). totally. And like you said, concerta helps with somethings but not the real impulsivity and risk taking. I see that your son is adopted --was alcohol possibly a factor with his birthmother? Note that my son is cognitively pretty normal. But the impulsiveness and the general social developmental delay.... We are still trying to find a medication that deals with that--no luck. Also what you describe about the lack of boundaries (e.g. stealing)is very typical of Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE).

    I think it is important to get an idea about Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). One thing you will need to evaluate is whether punishment etc can do any good with impulisiveness. I do believe that these kids are really lagging in their brain development (I have read that perhaps in their 30s there is some exec functioning maturity.

    So we are in the same position as you--how to keep a teenage boy with no sense safe and out of harm's way. It is so difficult when all their friends get these privileges. They just cannot handle them. I am really questioning how I can keep my child safe, and what kind of structured program they will need in their late teens to do that. And where is it????!!! I find this child so much more difficult and worrying than my older one whom I see great signs of progress. He will still need structure etc but I think we have found some medications to deal with the mental illness aspect and are working on self esteem etc.

    Also what we find with youngest is that the only kids that will ultimately accept him are exactly the kind that we don't want him hanging with.

    We are struggling now with school not to punish him for his impulsiveness behavior--not accept what he does but think that by imposing some consequence (supsension) that my son will change his behavior. I am all for paying for damage etc taking away privileges he is not developmentally ready for (license) but some types of punishment thinking that it will change his behavior when he doesn't have a lot of control over the impulsivity is like pusnishing a kid with dyslexia for not being able to read.

    I am totally depressed and scared about the future for this child--all the more depressing because he has the potential to be a very caring upbeat kid--but is being worn down by the constant negativity he faces each day. It is so hard when they appear to be functioning on a normal level but in reality don't have the mental brakes.


    In sympathy with you,
  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Moreover, we have found that most of the child psychiatrists we have dealt with don't have great experience with Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). It helps to find one with a real child development perspective. Also another thing we have learned the hard way is that the the organic brain damage can make for some paradoxical medication reactions. For us, Tenex (guafacine) and Zoloft have had very bad effects. As much as I would like to find a medication that works I'm getting to the pont where I think that beyond Concerta there is not a lot we can do.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wow, in some ways you are speaking about my gfgbro as a teen. Only he had a lot of abusive behaviors going along with the complete lack of sense - common or otherwise. Sadly, much of this continued until he was in his mid thirties and got sober. He once commented that "drunken automechanics is about four times as expensive a hobby as regular" and thought it was a riot - esp when laughing over times that he destroyed MY vehicles (my parents insisted we let him borrow our vehicle and he drove over 300 miles in 4th gear, complained to us that it was "overheating", and roundly denied that it even had a 5th gear - the makers just put that on the shift lever to make us "think" that we had 5 gears. Yes, he really tried to make us believe this lame story - and he burned out a brand new transmission! He also was well known for having "guard rail burn" on the driver's door of his trucks. You get guard rail burn when you nod off/pass out/get really into the book you are reading while you drive and scrape the edges of the car against the guard rails.

    Has your son taken any industrial classes? Has he gone through a program with very rigorous safety training BEFORE he gets to even breathe on the tools? Our tech program here frustrates a LOT of kids because they don't want to do the bookwork and learn the safety stuff, but they are forced to. something like this might be your son's salvation. Wiz was not terribly accident prone but still got to learn to use some of the tools six MONTHS before the rest of his class because he didn't fight the bookwork - just got it done. ANY unsafe behavior resulted in having to go and completely recertify in the safety training from the very beginning. One student actually had to come back for a third year (one year they go half days to the program and half to high school, then next is full day in the program, this guy got a third full year in the program because he just refused/was unable to follow ANY safety rules.)

    Getting a true old clunker for your son might be the saving of him. Janet is right - get one from the junkyard, require him to pay for his parts and equipment (he may be able to rent some things from auto parts stores, etc...), and let him go. Do NOT send him online - too tempting. The older the car, the more he will be able to do with it. The newer ones have a lot of computer controlled parts, so older ones are often more "fixable".

    How do his damages get paid for? I would force him to pay you back with hard labor. NOT holiday/birthday money, or even money from a job. Money he earns at minimum wage by doing hard physical labor around your home. Mowing with a push mower (NOT a riding mower), weeding, digging holes for fence posts or a water garden or whatever. Every spare minute he needs to be working to pay you off. He gets NO money from you until he has this paid off. This means no $$ for gas, for allowance, etc... His money is yours until the debts are paid. For some people the ONLY way to get them to really SEE the damage they cause is by forcing them to pay it off before they can have any fun/nice things/etc... It will take months, but anything he destroys while acting this impulsively and recklessly, he must pay for. If he damages the property as he is working on it, his bill goes up and so does his workload. He HAS to take responsibility for the outcome of his recklessness or else he will never ever learn. My gfgbro was a real doozie with this - he had a job at the university and at 16 wrecked a univ truck by crashing into a parked univ van. To pay the fines off my parents made him work around their house. They even let him use the riding mower - on the condition that he check the oil after every hour of use. Because he "knew" that my dad was "being a baby" about it, he refused to check the oil. Less than a month after the accident he did thousands of dollars of damage to my parents' property - ran the mower engine out of oil so it seized, put some doors against the garage to paint them and didn't put anything up to protect the garage so he left big stripes of white oil paint that he then smeared with paint remover, and wrecked four or five other big things. My mom was already so stressed and sick that I went to meet her at work and told her in a public place so she wouldn't explode when she drove up the driveway. There had already been so much fighting that my ulcers were a wreck, and my mom was dealing with some problems that stress made a LOT worse so I tried to ease her into it.

    My gfgbro hasn't outgrown this. Sobriety helps, but doesn't fix it. When he was trimming trees and doing remodeling for people, he did some work for his psychiatrist in trade for treatment. My kids saw a therapist in a building she owned. We were there one day and heard a HUGE thud, the building shook like an earthquake had hit! We all ran outside (well, I had a pretty good idea who was responsible and I walked veeeerrrryyyy slowly as I was incredibly embarrassed) and saw that gfgbro's chain had broken, resulting in dropping a HUGE limb on the building!!! NO WAY should that chain have been used - and he knew it was in such bad shape that this was going to happen. He had taken off part of it because it dropped a limb a couple days before! This type of "mishap" is incredibly common for him. If he is going to be ANYWHERE at a certain time, he will be late and have a litany of things like that that are the reason - and he will make you listen to it over and over. It is another reason why I do NOT let him near us.

    You son may also have the "I know better than you" syndrome. My gfgbro is rampant with this. Just like with the oil and the lawn mower, if you tell him ANYTHING is needed, he knows it isn't. And will "prove" it to you. The last time I EVER let him take my kids anywhere - and I do mean EVER - I was flying back home with 6 month old thank you and gfgbro wanted to take the other 2 kids to the lake. I was unhappy about it, but my parents had already said it was fine - and they were to be in charge of the kids at that time. I was told it was going to happen whether I said OK or not. I gave gfgbro sunscreen and said it was really important to apply it every couple of hours. I also gave the kids (4 and 8) a second bottle of sunscreen and said if gfgbro forgets, you still have to put it on. He took it away from them to PROVE that you can spend all day out in the July sun in OK and not have it hurt you. He was supposed to be gone for 3 hours, and was gone for almost 7. My kids had to be taken to the doctor (and Jess almost to the ER shortly after that!) and their vacation with my parents was destroyed. They also lost the next 2 summers. Sunburn with blisters larger than a 50 cent piece were what he gave them. My mother refused to press charges because "he is miserable too" - the doctor told us that if my mother hadn't PROMISED that he would NEVER be alone with the kids again, and that he did NOT live with them, then she would have called CPS. We spent an incredible amt of money on pediatrician dermatologists and were told that IF we could keep the kids completely out of the sun for two YEARS then they MIGHT not end up with skin cancer. The entire next summer if they went outside during the day their skin hurt like they had a mild sunburn. My kids had NEVER EVER been sunburned before. NEVER (I don't tan so I was very careful about sunscreen on them). To this day gfgbro says it wasn't "his fault", that they refused to use the sunscreen when he gave it to them. But he was so drunk he couldn't find his dog - when the dog was licking his face, and my kids were at his mercy and forced to be in his car with him. He even made my kids lie about the cop who pulled him over, and the cop who chased them out of the ice cream/dairy place because he brought his filthy dog in. Those I learned about in the paper, and from the officers themselves when I called for details.

    This is just the bare minimum of the extent of the "I know better" that gfgbro is infected with. EVERY safety rule is for others, he can do everything perfectly, and if you tell him how to do something he has to skip the first parts and the safety stuff because he must "prove" to you that he can do it better. It always, 110% of the time, backfires.

    I wish I could be more reassuring. A new evaluation is in order because otherwise the concerta would be helping with the impulsivity. I hope that your son has a very on-the-ball guardian angel. I swear that is the only thing that has kept my gfgbro alive all these years. That and the grace of God looking out for idiots.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, NO WAY would he have a car or license in my home. He has shown very clearly that he won't follow the rules, and that means he is in control of a loaded weapon aimed at a lot of helpless people every time he is in control of a car. When he has fixed up his own vehicle from clunker stage to road-worthy, paid for with $$ he EARNS, it will be soon enough for him to have a license. Or when he is 18 (and/or self-supporting depending on house rules) and pays his own insurance!
  8. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    gcvmom - I agree that the Concerta is not working well for all of JT's issues. He has grown tremendously over the past few years, and we haven't changed his dosage. Maybe we need to increase it. We had been using his school performance as a guide, and since he is doing well in school, we haven't thought about changing his medications. But this is another wake-up call.

    Janet - I'm glad to hear your son is doing better now in this way. It gives me hope. While JT is very smart academically, he is equally idiodic in others - quite the paradox. JT actually does have an old 80's junker car that he tinkers around with. I do think it's good for him. He has taken every shop class possible through the school because he loves it so much. I don't see a mood disorder going on with him. He is very stable and good natured. We don't have many arguments or problems with him at all. He is happy and well adjusted, except for these periodic crazy things he does. Months may go by without anything happening, and then all of a sudden he's done some dumb thing again - act first, think later.

    Pepperidge - It's interesting that you brought up Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I have read a great deal about it, and I am concerned - for both of my boys, particularly the younger one. JT does not have any physical or intellectual differences. BUT . . . his behavior just doesn't make sense sometimes. I do wonder about it, and you're right that there are very little resources out there - very little knowledge. Everyone wants to label these kids with something familiar, like ODD or autism or sensory integration disorder. But, alcohol is extremely toxic to the developing baby, and the damage it causes is lifelong. No medications have been found to help, as it is a form of brain damage. Talk about depressing!

    Susie - Wow about your brother! It sounds like he has been a real challenge for everyone in his life. What is striking is how he consistently fails to consider consequences or take responsibility for his actions. That's how JT is right now, and I do wonder if he'll ever mature out of it.

    We have decided that JT will work for minimum wage (net minimum wage, after "taxes", etc.) to repay the damage done. Realistically, he'll need to work 40+ hours to pay for this. We'll have him do un-fun jobs around the house, i.e. cleaning the basement, bathrooms, laundry, vacuuming, etc. These are all things he doesn't like to do. We will also be saying no to him using machines without adult supervision. Someone mentioned about how it is hard to deny their child the privileges that all the other kids seem to have at this age. That's the truth. Chronologically, he's old enough, but developmentally, he's not. He won't be getting his text messaging back any time soon, and neither will he be getting his own vehicle for a while. I'd rather have him mad at us and alive than happy and lost to some accident.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds to me like peer involvement is very much an issue here. His friends know what he has done and are covering it up. They think it is funny. So they are also a big part of the problem and will continue to be a big part of the problem while ever they are around.

    So first - limit the friends. It doesn't matter if he is missing out on social interaction, if the alternative is BAD social influence!

    Next - consequences. He already has a record, and this could prevent him being permitted to teach children. Ever. Second, he has incurred costs because other people (not you) have decided that he owes money for fines and for repairs. He must pay for this, and he needs to see the list written down, of the problems he has caused. As for the damage to himself - he laughed that off, but at some level, he must realise (if not now, then hopefully one day) just how dangerous that was.

    Drivers licence - here, he wouldn't get it. He certainly wouldn't keep it. In Australia, a speeding ticket like that one in the first three years of driving, would be instant loss of licence. You don't get the licence back until you go through the same provisional process. Here the licence can't be tested for until you're at least 17.

    He wouldn't be permitted to drive my car. Ever. Again. There are rules, and he broke those rules. No exceptions. So yes, get him a clunker. Or better still, take him to get his own. With his money.

    As for college - I'd be finding a college option that allows him to stay in your home, under your supervision. Correspondence, even. Certainly no going away to college. Instead, if there is no option that allows him to stay home, he can go get a job. In a few years time, maybe he can go to college then. There are alternative study pathways here for exactly this reason. Surely you have them too, in the US? If you haven't, then campaign for them. For this very reason!

    I know it is seen as a sort of rite of passage, for kids to leave home to go to college. But it is a peculiarly US thing. Parents footing the bill - again, a US thing. The trouble is, it gets seen as a right, when in fact is is very much a privilege. A difficult child who has demonstrated that he just is not ready to be responsible, has not earned that privilege. However, there have to be alternative routes.

    If all else fails - move to Australia. Go up north where, if he wants thrills, he can jump on crocodiles Steve Irwin style. Frankly, living here is enough of a thrill (in terms of having to watch where you put your feet, especially in summer). Even our impulsive kids have enough common sense to be safe from snakes and spiders. So any kids he would be around, would probably keep him safer than his current "mates".

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, the things I listed about gfgbro are just a teensy drop in the ocean of his exploits. I know he has done terrible things to me that he either cannot remember because substance induced blackouts or selective memory or whatever, and I am positive that in the years when he spent most of the year living in other states he did similar awful things to other people there. I can remember him telling me some truly terrible things about a girl he was "dating". He actually asked me to call her once, to try to "make friends" from halfway across the country. She was horrified by my call (had changed her number twice to hide from him!) and once she learned I was NOT NOT NOT encouraging him and that my eyes truly were open to what kind of a person he really is, she told me awful things he had done and said to her. He went on and on after they "broke up" about how she owed him money for various things when in fact he owed her a LOT of money AND had cost her even more in terms of court costs for restraining orders, new phone numbers, etc...

    It was just awful. My father has insisted that keeping a child from his license and from doing other things that "all the other kids his age are doing" is abusive and setting up the child for failure as an adult. I felt truly blessed that Wiz made hte choice to not get his license until he was almost 18. My parents insisted on it then but previously Wiz was afraid he would get upset or make an impulsive decision and hurt someone. Wiz has seen enough of gfgbro that he works hard to make good choices. Wiz once told me that when he is faced with a decision that involves something risky he actually asks himself what gfgbro would do - and does the opposite every time!!

    In fact, it was seeing behavior and reactions similar to gfgbro's that first made me think Wiz had problems. boy did husband and I get grief for that - because nothing is wrong with gfgbro, right? (I heard that more times than I can count, lol!) I firmly believe that giving kids a car because they reach a certain age is irresponsible. It does NOT make the child more mature and it puts LOTS of people at risk every day.

    I think Marg is right. We have a huge number of privileges in the US, and often do not pay attention to the responsibilities that accompany them. Esp with regard to our kids. Very often our kids think they deserve a car, all expenses paid at a 4 yr college, etc.... just the way they think they deserve Wii's, cell phones, and fancy new clothes.

    It is high time for JT to start to dealw ith the real world. That means he has to pay the costs of his actions, he has to face the devastation he has caused. Not just by himself, but actually go face to face with the owners of the property, with you and husband there to witness everything, and make amends - verbal apologies and work to pay for the wreckage. This needs to happen for EACH of his escapades. I cannot call them accidents because they are pretty much guaranteed to happen given the way he acts.

    He needs to be kept away from his peers esp in unsupervised-by-adults situations. He just is not ready for the responsibilities that those situations require. It means being far more "hands on" than many people feel a 16yo needs/requires, but it will help your son to be able to put the pieces together to connect his actions and the disasters that follow.

    At this point I have flat out refused to go over my gfgbro's actions toward us and those that I saw when he latched on to the crowd of people I was friends with in college. He has "made amends" in a way that he feels is satisfactory for his AA program and feels I am vindictive and grudge-bearing because I will not pretend it never happened. I will not EVER go into details with him because he is very emotionally fragile and the probability that he would kill himself if he knew/allowed himself to remember what he had done (esp to women) exceeds 100% (This is the reason I stopped seeing the only psychiatrist in our town - she asked me to so that she can treat him with-o conflict, at the time I explained some of the things that happened and she agreed with my evaluation that he would kill himself if he ever knew.).

    You are right that it is better to have him miserable and alive than happy and engaging in risk taking behaviors that are likely to kill or maim him. Has anyone evaluated him for executive function disorders? the lack of ability to foresee the consequences of his actions makes me wonder. Also for sensory issues, as the thrill seeking behavior may be providing some type of sensory stimulation.

    Sorry if I rambled. I don't think that JT has the mean streak that my gfgbro has, more that he just cannot connect the action and the consequence. My gfgbro has a LOT more than that going on, in my opinion. And has mean right down to the bone, esp toward women. I wish I could help his daughter - it is a shame that she has to grow up in that environment!
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh, JT needs to be given the various medical bills for his exploits. Show him the bill before insurance, what you pay each month for his health insurance, and how much has to be paid after insurance pays. Condiser counting the part insurance does not pay into his debt. After all, it was his stupidity that caused the bill.

    My kids are well aware that if they get tattoos or piercings that get infected then they will be charged the ENTIRE bill - not just what insurance pays, and they will be tested for all possible diseases like hepatitis, etc.... They know that if they need to see the GYN that I will pay for it because I want them to be responsible. But tattoos and piercings are different, in my opinion. For those they better be on their own. NOT because I really object to piercings and tattoos but because they are permanent and they need to be adults before making such decisions, in my opinion (and in husband's opinion).
  12. Frazzledmom

    Frazzledmom Guest

    Phew, the risk-taking behavior is scary. My son seems to have increased in that respect. I always thought he stopped short of mis-judgement and now I'm not so sure. We live right next to a lake and he continually tests the limits of frozenness. He also sincerely believes that he will not get sick no matter what. Until a couple of months ago we were anticipating him going for his license in April. That idea is definitely off the table right now. It's the only thing we have at the moment. No advice just good wishes and good luck.
  13. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    marg - As always, you communicate so well, and I appreciate your thoughts. As far as JT's friends, we are quite strict as to when, where, and who he can hang out with. I think his one friend covered for him because he was afraid of his dad finding out. The other friend is a good kid, but he's still a kid. We know all of his friends and their parents, and I know JT thinks we're overprotective of him. He doesn't realize he needs to be protected - so frustrating! If anything, JT is the bad influence on the other boys. This is yet another wake-up call that he needs more supervision, even when visiting friends.

    I agree about the drivers license too. I wish the rules were stricter here. You wouldn't believe how many parents have a car waiting for their kids the second they turn 16. I can't believe how little experience is required to drive a vehicle in this country. It is hard when all the other kids get these privileges and JT has to wait. Again, he doesn't fully realize the reasons for it.

    We're going to have a talk with JT about all of this tomorrow morning, and for sure the right vs privilege issue will be discussed. He needs to accept responsibility, and he absolutely will pay the consequences.

    Everyone who knows us thinks we're fairly strict parents in terms of setting limits and boundaries, as well as enforcing accountability. Honestly, I can't imagine what would become of JT without our constant watch, and I am haunted at the thought of what the future holds if he doesn't get a grip.

    Maybe I should send him to Australia! LOL

    Susie - I sure hope JT doesn't end up making bad choices like your brother. It sounds like he's been down a destructive path.

    Ploofl - Hope your son realizes the danger of different types of situations. It's especially hard, because, as you said, they do not take cues from their parents' experiences. If only they could see themselves as they really are.
  14. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Hi Weary Woman,

    again you describe your son and home situation such that it fits our stiuation to a T. Does your son accept the fact that he can't handle the same privileges as other kids his age? When you get that one dialed in, let me know!!

    My biggest fear is what happens when my son turns 18. I am actually thinking about looking into getting some extended custody. Don't know if that would make me legally responsibile for anything he does. I think about the possibility of him doing something that would wipe out our savings.
  15. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Weary Woman
    My son with Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) does not have any physical or intellectual differences that are noticeable. On the physical differences side, my understanding is that unless it is really pronounced you have to see a very knowlegeable child dev. person at a young age. Often if there are any differences the children outgrow them. And ADHD is pretty similar to all the cognitive differences. My psychiatrist explained to me that what differences come with Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) depend on exactly what day the drinking went on.

  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Long before wilderness camps which cost the parents a fortune, Australia has had jackeroo jobs for kids from the city. These jobs are like apprenticeships and, frankly, were not always safe for the kids. Some were plain exploitative and occasionally there were cases where boys trying to run away, died in the outback. But a jackeroo program might make him. These days they are much better scrutinised. The jackeroos are not there because they're problem kids, they're generally there because they want to learn how to run a cattle station or sheep station (or any outback farm). It's a tough life, but a clean life too. It's a bit like a gap year for some kids, especially the country kids who need to get a different perspective than the family station. I know wilderness camps in the US use isolation as a way to ensure compliance - but nobody can do isolation like the Australian outback. Except maybe Antarctica!

    Oh yes, and they have jillaroos now too. Those girls can kick-start jumbo jets!

  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh yes, and jackeroos get paid. A pittance, but they still get paid. So the parents don't pay.

  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One of the things that, in my opinion, saved my gfgbro's life was 2 years in the army. The military does NOT let you blame any one else. In fact, you may get the consequences of someone else slacking off, but you also get them for your own transgressions. Not at all sure it is a good idea in this time of war, but it is the ONLY thing that got my brother to take ANY responsibility for ANY of his actions.

    I really doubt that you have the risk of JT turning out like my brother. JT is not overly oppositional, and many times isn't really hard to live with. He doesn't do the opposite of every single thing you ask him to do or suggest to him.

    You are doing a really great job with him, and in time he will figure things out.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he was exposed to substances before his birth, I would think that is part of it. And, no, psychiatrists don't catch it and other parents don't even consider it because it's not a part of their world. Any drug can affect the brain and cause impulsivity and anger that is beyond ADHD. The kids don't have to look different to have drug or alcohol affect problems. Some kids get Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and some just have behavioral problems or Learning Disability (LD) issues. I suspect this is the case with my son...why he ended up on the autism spectrum. He doesn't have Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), but he was certainly damaged by the drugs his birthmother used while she was pregnant. These kids have a much higher than average degree of learning/behavioral problems and various disorders. We learned a lot when I took my son to a doctor's clinic for drug-exposed kids in Chicago.
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have never found "the" answer to boys like yours. When the teenage years arrive it magnified the preexisitng issues and
    some pull through it and some don't. There is a sense of false security when they get along well with teachers and classmats and do well academically. That is compounded by good looks or special talents.

    Ideally if you can find an adolescent psychiatrist and therapist that he will actualy trust and share with...it can help them explore their issues with an outside trusting person. Finding such help is difficult. Often not possible.

    I wish you the very best. It's so darn sad to feel that he is jeopardizing his entire future by getting identified as a young troublemaker. He is the one who has to come to grips with his problems. Much like addiction there is only so much the parents can do. Saying a prayer for you and your family. DDD