Just wondering, Have any of you....


New Member
Ever gotten positive results from a treatment facility?

Maybe it is just the post I read, but it seems as if most of us are in the same boat and our hands have been tied when we have placed our difficult children in some kind of facility.

I am talking about all placements.

We started with probation officers, didn't work
from there to weekend in jail,didn't work
from there to two wks in jail, didn't work
from there to residential mental hospital, didn't work
from there to group home, ran away
from there to drug rehab, didn't work

I forgot this all started with testing for adhd in 5 grade, he tested normal
changed school districts, tested again he was given IEP

He came home and could not funtion by our rules in between all the things we tried.

I just wondered if anyone has had success, and if so How did it become a success???

Sara PA

New Member
My son's time spent in the hosptial after his suicide attempt was a joke. And I have a copy of the doctor's discharge report to prove it. Most of it was just flat wrong, including the family history. And our situation was different than most -- the hospital psychiatrist was his private psychiatrist (the one who was prescribing the antidepressant that was making him psychotic). Can't use the excuse about not knowing him well enough or long enough. She should have known him well enough but since she disregarded my reporting and blamed his behavior our relationship and my parenting skills, it's not surprising she had it all wrong. Ironically, she, the psychiatrist, was the problem, not me. But what the hell, no skin off her nose. Her life wasn't ruined, her marriage is still intact and she didn't spend or lose in lost wages what is approaching half a million dollars (including what the insurance paid) trying to fix things.

by the way, anyone ever notice my bitteness? Does it show?


In terms of real therapeutic placements mine has probably been through 4 or 5 now, two for a period of time and others a couple of months or less. Other placements, hospitalizations, jails, shelters,....8 or 10 off the top of my head. All in the last 4 yrs. I figure he's been at home about a total of 6 months of the last 4 yrs. Most every place he got booted out for lousy behavior, danger to other kids, etc, etc.

Do I think any ONE placement changed him? NO. But he has improved over the years. He can identify emotions now. So he has some recognition in advance of imminent loss of control. He also has some tools now to deal with that. So the explosions are MUCH less frequent and non-violent for the most part. Has he complied with any rules? Not much. He's currently a sqatter in my house because he just turned 17 and I'm not allowed to kick him out. He ran away from the Fall placement and is refusing to go into another. He's not going to school, not got a job (which working permit he can't get without going to school), comes home in the middle of the night, steals money from my purse and his brothers, refuses any kind of therapy or medication, etc. But, yes, overall he's better. He's also an addict and actively using. Again, so far not as much as before but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. With all that, at least one psychiatrist in every place, he still has no real diagnosis other than the obvious CD, ODD and sub abuse.

Personally I have come to accept over the years that mine is like every other addict. He will change when he wants to. I can only pray that is sooner rather than later. The stats say that the more treatment they are in for the longer the period the better the chances that they will someday give it up. So mine had the better part of 4 yrs in some kind of treatment. Frankly, just keeping him alive this long is some kind of miracle. But hopefully, in addition to keeping him alive, I've increased his odds of someday turning around. I think he's certainly got all the knowledge in his head of how to do it, from who to call for help to how hard it's going to be.

I can say that the last jail stay seems to have kept him from selling drugs or committing other crimes. He's been very clear to me any number of times that he intends to not commit any crime because he never wants to go back to jail. The difference the last time I think was two fold. First, he was in big boy jail.... the part of the adult jail where they keep 16 and 17 yr olds. He was not coddled as he had been in juvie. There was no series of guards looking out for him, separating him from the sociopaths, psychotics and so forth. This time he was just one of them. They screamed all night so he could never sleep. They gave him a tray of horrible food period, no sneaking treats to him or giving him more of one thing and less of another if he didn't like it. Mind you, it's not like he had it bad there. It just wasn't his own cell separated from the teenage murderers, rapists and so forth. second, maybe this time, what the other prior guards had told him got through, that he isn't like them and doesn't belong there. Am I foolish enough to think that will permanently change him? No, he's an addict. If he uses enough he will do anything for money for drugs. It's a hugely steep downhill slope for him.

But yes, I do think all the residential placements have helped my kid.

Sara, I can assure you that the first time mine was in the hospital I was treated exactly the same way. I refused to accept blame and refused to bring him home. By the third week they pretty much labeled him a sociopath and signed him up for Residential Treatment Center (RTC). EVERY placement after that, despite years and years of placements makes me go through the whole thing again....to prove that I'm not the lousy parent that they think is the cause of ODD. The difference between psychiatry and psychology... I am just not fond of psychologists in general...my own bitterness. LOL Oh, and every placement will tell me that he needs to go into another Residential Treatment Center (RTC), shouldn't go home, but they'll write up a report that says he should go to a lower level placement... even had one write should go home. LOL. Unless you have a tape recorder going when they tell you he's not suitable to live with a family...prove it! Another bitterness.. LOL


Well-Known Member
After years of treatment---all kinds---my difficult child is finally showing progress, but it was only after we gave up trying and let him hit rock bottom. When we stopped excusing his behavior, paying his way, trying to help, he had no where else to go. He had lost his friends, his family, and wanted help. Then....he became active in his own treatment and this time it seems to be working. He has been clean for almost 60 days, he is working, he is enjoying sobriety. Now, it is not all a bed of roses. He has lost a lot of time. He still needs to finish his education. He still has some obsessive moments, but... he is cordial, polite, and is trying.


Don't forget Genny's story, Ant's Mom's story, Fran's story, Martie's story... there are some here who have had success of one kind of another. I think Genny's story may be the only one which turned a child from difficult child to easy child but less of a difficult child I sitll consider a success. After all, mental illness and addiction do not go away, they are for life.


New Member
Um.......I am not sure I really want to answer this here.......but-----

Lets see. husband was catatonic combat PTS since 1990. multiple psychiatric hospital stays, never ever came home any better than when went in. Actually, truth told, he came home worse. 10 years of day treatment. Seems he came home from day treatment most days um..with his emotions on his sleeve and in his throat. And then they wound up in mine and the kids faces. so many many many diagnosis along the way, and so many many medications. Thousands of group, marital, family and indiv therapy appts. Many ended on a sour note, One day he was sitting in a coffee shop, and the man next to him was telling someone else about "some guy who xyz" and my husband turned and asked where did you hear THAT? the guy told him, turns out that guy in the coffee shop was discussing something - an experience my husband had in group- so my husband asked for names- and got his own name. YIKES. He NEVER went back to day treatment nor to any more groups. altho he still goes to 1-1 appts on occasion and still sees neuro and psychiatrist.
His medications? several times caused him major severe crisis -----psychosis, electrolyte problems, blood pressure problems etc. Approx 3 years ago, he slowly backed off all psychiatric medications. Truth is he is now better than he was from 1990 - 2000. altho his memory is all but gone and he does still have problems with PTSD and anger and paranoia BUT around 2000 they also found brain lesions/tumors.

My dtr had been in in home therapy, WRAP, SASS, girls group, siblings group, family therapy, 1-1, social skills groups, coping skills, anger management, since age 3 in 1991. She has had 3 neuropsychologist evaluations at 2 diff providers. We have been thru countless parenting groups. She has had a LONG list of diagnosis'es. Also a VERY long list of medications. She has never been aggressive or violent. When the school placed her in an ED BD class, our life went from bad to MUCH worse in the blink of an eye. It also brought us a whole new group of kids hanging around, vandalising, attacking her etc. SOmewhere recently I posted about our in home help experiences......they were pretty negative.
The medications also were never something I would say worked out well. Stims? Ritalin, NOT long acting was not too bad, but then ADs and then suicidal issues, and self harm, and hoarding, and then increased depression......and then the panic attacks began.....the ADs made them worse, the ED BD class made it MUCH worse. Add in APs and her blood pressure and heart rate went totally nuts......and she gained a LOT of weight, (she had been so slim when on Ritalin and then got so big- in all the wrong places) She got hurt in psychiatric hospital-----more than once. Her discharge plan (again in another recent post) was a joke.
by age 13 we transferred her care to a major university and they did a medication wash and they backed dtr out of ALL other services- "to give her a chance to heal" Truth is the school shoved her (no, they did not nudge) out------she spent a year at home, sleeping, eating, and slowly "coming to" and another year testing the water and right now is prolly the MOST stable and BEST I have seen her since she was 3 years old.

My son has atypical seizures. He also has a lot of other "issues" in k-garten my dtrs psychiatrist wanted to put my son on medications......concerta, adderal, becuz my son was not learning to read, he was not toilet training, he could not figure out how to ride a bike, and after all mom, dad and sister all had a mental illness diagnosis. My son walked and talked and ran and bathed IN HIS SLEEP.
The medications made him miserable, he was NEVER without a tremendous headache, he is a picky eater but then he could NOT tolerate eating AT ALL......and he could not sleep. Behavior mod docs were already in home for dtr, and they decided to work with him. He did NOT do well in behav mod. Not at all.
Alas at that time, he had an MRI for "toe walking" and was found to have heterotopia.......and cerebal palsy. and atypical seizures. I then took HIM to the univ hospital and they stopped his medications and the behav mod.
His school denied him any special help reading or writing, and his school wanted him medicated, but of course, due to new laws, could not demand it.......
Due to his eye trauma, he wound up missing a LOT of school, and there were issues------he is now home, and to my shock, he now DOES read and he is slowly learning to write!!!!!!! BUT------we use NO medications, and we use NO "services" for him.

I was diagnosis'ed BiPolar (BP) so many years ago, I can barely remember. I had a few crummy tdocs who kept me agitated. I had a few psychiatrists who seemed to not care about my concerns or complaints with the medications they gave me......seems every time they wanted to do something with a medication, I wound up in ER. Or psychotic, or close to it. I did over 5 years in day treatment, but I also worked full time at the same time. I would scream at my psychiatrist and say hey, I am doing great at work, I do fine at home.....I did not do so well in day treatment, mostly becuz my issues were nothing at all like anyone elses in day treatment, noone else there worked. and everyone else in my day treatment sessions lived in group homes.
Eventually I could not keep up with work plus day treatment plus taking care of my kids needs and husband needs.
SO I simply stopped going. and I lost health coverage and hated how the medications made me feel, so I stopped those, too.
I still had a therapist for awhile and she was like a cheerleader to me, always encouraging me and praising me when I did well. Then she moved away.

Now -here at my house, in my family......we have been services free now for 3 years. We have also been medication free 3 years. This is The Calmest our life has EVER been.
The last diagnosis we had was---husband- scizoaffective disorder, combat PTSD, multiple cancers from Agent Orange exposure and early ALzhiemers.
me age 47- bipolar and general anxiety
oldest difficult child dtr age 18- major panic attacks and bipolar, middle dtr age 16 no diagnosis, son age 11, heterotopia, atypical seizures, cerebal palsy.

My husband and oldest dtr do still have psychiatrist and neurodoc, they see approx every 6 months. My son has 2 neuro docs, one psychiatrist, one genticist following him and of course a multitude of eye specialists right now.

We get by most days pretty well. We do a lot of walking away from someone who is angry. we definetly pick our battles. we do our best to keep it low key. if someone is agitated we leave them alone.
My dtr is now working on GED and is getting excited about takeing a few college classes. My son is exploring the world of creating things-------says he wants to be an engineer. My middle child is an overacheiver and quite busy.

DId any of those places help? I am not sure. I tend to think no- I tend to think they made things worse. Way too often they spent time teaching my oldest child coping skills the school would not accept. They kept my husband too focused on too much excuses and too much self indulgence and too much on what he could not or should not do instead of helping him learn to help himself or DO anything. and they were far too quick to want to shove psychiatric medications down my sons throat when he has not ever displayed any real psychiatric issues. Living our life with somuch in home scrutiny and us being analyzed over every breathe we took, my oldest dtr and I got to where we could not function unless someone gguided us. we could not grow. we were always waiting for someone to tell us it was ok. My poor little son was born smack dab into it and until he was 9 or 10, I swear he thought EVERYONE had case managers, mentors, therapists, and locked drug cabinets as big as a linen closet. and that everyone in the world took a bath on a reward and punishment system.

I think it made our life harder. ANd I think it did not help my kids very much if it helped at all, no, I think it hurt them more than helped.

Stella Johnson

Active Member
My difficult child was in the children's hospital here in kindergarten. It was probably the best thing I ever did for her. From then on things started to improve. The program difficult child was in was very different than the psychiatric wards I have heard about from other parents on here.

Most of the ones I have heard of on the board didn't seem to do squat for their kids.


timer lady

Queen of Hearts
If nothing else, a treatment facility breaks the cycle of chaos/danger/instability in the home setting. In my mind, that is worth a great deal.

So many of our little wonders improve in baby steps...in some cases, that may be as good as it gets. If the mental/emotional illness is of such a severity you may never see "huge" improvements.

I've had to learn to be happy with the baby steps. To recognize the deficits & find different coping skills. Mostly I explore different ways for the tweedles to get to their highest level of functionality.


New Member
Thank you all for posting
I think it helps us all out in our decision making to know what has helped or hurt for others.
I personally found this board less than a year ago and I do not know what everyone has been through and tried.
When I found this site I was franticly searching for answers to help my son, I had so many life changing decisions to make and I knew no one else that had a child like mine that I could gain insight from.

I would like to add that before any of the law enforcement got involved, I tried through our IEP meeting to send him to another state for schooling. The Special Education director for our county was a mentor to my son and He suggested it and at the time we really pushed it.
When the meeting came up, all these reps from different agenices were there. I was very overwhelmed by questioning. The Special Education director had taken another higher office and couldn't be there. I went with the suggestion of one last try with in home group therapy.

the therapy was supposed to last 16 weeks. My son was in our home for 6 wks and dissappeared to live with a friend. I was instructed by the home therapist(2) to not make any contact and let him make the choice to return home.
He was gone 6 mths, I called the school everyday to make sure he went, he did
When school was out this mom that I have never spoken to, that let my son live with her for 6 mths, called me screaming about my son and what all he had done wrong in the past week. That he wouldn't abide by the rules, was caught drinking and smoking in the house and so on.
I just said "I know, that's what he tries to do at my house"


New Member
I know what else was so very very very hard heree....
the professionals had opposite oopinions LOTS of times, and would argue and we would be caught in the middle and sometimes even when we did what one professional said to do, the other professional would call CPS anad say WE did it --on our own.....
It was awful being put in the middle of fighting professionals.


I personally buy into the therapeutic milieu theory. It did help my son to see other kids like him, to know that while his issues were extreme there were others who also had extreme behaviors.


New Member
OTE thanks for sharing Martie's story.
My difficult child is artistically gifted, I have tried several times to get him deeper into it.
I wish I had tried harder, maybe it could have given him a positive outlook instead of so many failures.
He was also a talented football player, maybe pro material. After playing since he was 6 yrs old he walked off the field in 10 grade and never looked back
I still have no idea why he made that choice


New Member
I am not sure, I got myself all mixed up, thinking about this thread and another thread with a subject "for those of you"
I am thinking parts of my post there in reply might be pertinant to this thread. Yeesh, LOL------

and I was thinking gosh.....people have been mentally ill since beginning of time.and some of them were NOT institutionalized......and SOME of them came to do GREAT things.......even without treatment agencies.

I learned something when I became a nurse and that is that professionals are still also simply human beings. If you wind up with professionals that are not so bright, or ones that bring too much personal baggage or biases into their work, they might not end up being quite the kind of help that is helpful? and help that worked for someone else still mgight not work for you and vice versa.
What worked for my husband did NOT work for my dtr. what worked for me did not work for my husband. One of husband docs was doing good with husband for a while, but yikes, when the agency was in need of more docs, and they gave me husband doctor for a short time- YUK.it did NOT work.

something else i have thought a lot about over the last 15 years.....the whole philosphies about some diagnosis'es has changed dramatically and also back and forth 18 years ago, and 15 years ago, not one doctor here here I am WOULD diagnosis a child with bipolar, not AT ALL. We were told time and again over and over it was absolutely parenting and could not be, no way could it be something wrong with the child.
Ah heck, before difficult child was 5 we were told it could not even be ADD or ADHD till she turned 7, and could not be bipolar till she turned 18.
We were also told stims absolutely could NOT make an ADD or ADHD child more hyper when she turned 8.
AT 10 we were told absolutely not, no way did paxil or zoloft make her decide to kill herself. DOcs wanted to know what WE did to make her want to kill herself, and were convinced we could not have been giving her her medications.

at 13 they finally conceded that yes, OK she really WAS bipolar.....
By then a few kids in our area finally began to get a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis. BUT you see.....she was 13 then and she is 18 now......and it was ONLY then that the docs and therapists and everyone else treated it as bipolar. SOoooooo you see- it has only been 5 years since here around me anyone has been doing anything with bipolar in mind. ANd that was the beginnning.......so-------how many different things have they been able to yet try? How do they yet know what has worked and what hasn't? They really have not had that much time to be able to say "this works" "this doesn't" when you are talking about treating the problem.
ANd when you add in that there were so many many negative results of so many many medications trialed------we have simply been guinea pigs and so far it has all been mostly trial and error and guesswork. And since we DID follow the professional route and do what they said, how can we possibly know how it would have worked out if we had NOT come thru our journey with the professionals? BUT in my humble opinion, doing the journey WITH the professionals did not seem to get us to any much better place so far. I simply do not know how it would have been now if we had not used the agencies and medications etc.
But I DO know that right now......my dtr is better than she has ever been- no, she is not perfect, no she is not "normal" BUT she is who she is......and we work with that. My husband is not normal by any stretch of the imagination, but with early alzhiemers and brain lesions/tumors, and his age? I give up. we simply live our life around him and love him anyway and deal with that as best we can.
I also know something else- My son asked his eye surgeon last MARCH to remove his eye if it was not going to be functional and if it was going to be so ugly......my son wanted it removed so my son could MOVE ON and LIVE his life. My son at age 10 thought this up all on his own-----he said if it is going to BE useless, then WHY let it rob me of my life? Well, his docs refused to remove the darned thing and here we are almost a full year later STILL going back and forth 2 nites and 3 days every week to the dang university hospital, living in RMH.....and there is no hope of vision or a better looking eye......just endless ongoing therapies and tests and consults etc.......5 hours from home......
so here we are still wrapped up involved with treatments and therapies and the docs --it is they who cannot let go. My now 11 yr old son now asks them every visit- do you know what you are ding, and why are you doing it? MY life is focused on one darn useless eye......when I COULD be off learning how to be a part of the world, here I am stuck looking at you guys while you all "study" me.
Recently my oldest difficult child looked at my son and said...ya know? THats how "I" felt. ALl those years with all the agencies and careplans etc.......so busy doing that, they forgot to let me LIVE. Oh they said they were trying to "teach me" but when and where did I ever get to use what they said they were trying to teach me?

And what I finally decided was "the real world" "the outside world" they do not seem to examine people for flaws anywhere near as hard as tdocs and psychiatrists and psychiatric units and ED BD classrooms do.

I don't know. I sometimes think the docs and agencies etc are too hyperfocused.



Someone let me know that my account of "what worked" for my ex-difficult child from the archives had been put on this thread.

For anyone who wasn't around for my kid's 11 to 15 year old days--let me tell you, it was really bad.

I always try to say that our son's particular outcome is unusual for a difficult child because of his musical giftedness which none of us asked for or can explain--it's just there--part of him whether he is functioning well or not. However, I do strongly believe that extensive Tx starting at age 7, reaching a very intense point for 14 months of egbs, which he made excellent use of, and a good post egbs high school (one that met his needs) all made a difference.

Talent is not always easy to manage and perhaps if he had not been so gifted, he would not have fallen ill--or perhaps he would have anyway. In either event, I think that milieu Tx is the way to go for a certain type of depressed, bullied, "different," adolescent. If anyone can keep their difficult child at home through middle school and early high school, hats off to you. I know I could not have achieved at home what others achieved having him 24/7. It helps to have a similar peer group and the objectivity of people outside the family. (The particular egbs we chose had a large family therapy component also.)

My biggest disappointment is that the public schools failed my ex-difficult child in many ways when he was young and completely after 8th grade. This is one of the reasons I continue as a moderator on Sp Ed 101. I was fortunate to be able to place privately when the public schools dumped my child after 13 days of high school. I know that it is important to try to improve services for our kids when private placement is not an option.

Some days I think that my ex-difficult child is really a easy child--then he'll get into a terribly foul mood over essentially nothing--and I know I must not tempt fate: he remains at risk for depressive relapse, so I'll just say he is my beloved EX-difficult child.



Roll With It
I am currently of the opinion that NOTHING works unless our kids are willing and able to put in the effort. The willing is often not there, the kids don't see a problem except for us. The able is sometimes not there due to physical and other issues (medications, ets...). I am including our kids' illnesses in the physical, just MHO.

The 4 month stay at the psychiatric hospital did not do much until the last 4-6 weeks, when I forced my son to show his behaviors. I pushed every button he had so that they would quit telling me he was "fine".

The 2 stays that were 2 days or so were a joke. Absolutely no help at all, not even for the family.

The long stay did help the rest of us recover and figure out what was going on. Helped us reassure the younger two. But other than that, not much help.

I wish I had more positive things to say.




Active Member
it depends on what you mean positive results from a treatment facility. my goal with ant at age 16 in glen mills was to contain ant and have him get his high school diploma. I was not letting him out til that happened. my goal once he turned 18 was to remove myself as much as possible from him and have him be an adult. if he made choices apart from his best interests, I could not go down that road with him. I want him to be able to live as if I were dead one day. one day he will have to.

jail did not help ant. it wasted time. there are no programs and they get more depressed more anxious...more bitter.

what helped ant the most was a mix that fell together:
-I had told him no help from me at all if he did not comply.
-he ran out of options and people to enable him.
-my boyfriend is a good male example and spends 8-10 hrs a day one on one with ant, five days a week. ant is on his own on weekends and must totally fend for himself and make decisions with no one there to guide.
-ant cares about his son and wants to be here for him.
-the biggest factor was God and his input into ant's life.

it has only been 4 months. but I have to say it is the best four months ant has had for a very long time.

you cannot help them if they do not see a problem. if ant repeats his past behavior, I will once more let him out on his own -homeless or not. he has to comply to be with me. he seems to want that. the pain of his past and watching others who are still trapped in that life haunts him at times.

at some point we realize it is their life. our job is to help them achieve independence.


New Member
I have this huge file cabinet with all of difficult child's paperwork from the past 4 yrs.
I had to find a paper and I began searching through the paperwork, I became overwhelmed with it all.
Nothing I tried helped. I think I was trying to validate my actions of failure by comparing with others what I had down .
You know, if it didn't work for anyone else, maybe the fault was on the system and not me.
I guess what I have learned is that perhaps I tried the wrong things. Looking back I see many things I would have done differently.
I was scared of how he was on medications. I kept getting a deaf ear to my concerns, I would have made a much louder noise knowing what I know now.
Jail seemed to make him worse, like Ant's mom shared. But when you can find no other place and he is threatening you, What do you do?
In his 17th yr, I stood firm that he would get his GED.He ran away from the grouphome and was missing 3 mths, it was being locked in a cell that brought him his GED.
I also raced against the clock of his 18th b'day to make sure he went through drug treatment.
I now feel like I have provided him all I can he has his GED, he has had therapy for his anger and emotions, and he has completed drug treament.
I have now released my reigns and I am letting him flounder around in the world
Hopefully soon he will run out of buddies that supply him and meet his needs, in his eyes he is just acting like a grown up does, where he got the idea of grown ups acting that way beats me


New Member
this is an interesting topic! My dtr went to a highly regarded (and highly expensive) Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah for 8 1/2 months when she was 16. She came home, relapsed, went to a dual diagnosis rehab for about 4 months. When she came home from that she did seem better--did seem committed to not using hard drugs anymore and she did get her GED while there. She spent the next 6 1/2 months basically doing nothing. At our lowest point back in August or Sept. I would have said that she didn't get much out of the treatment facilities. However, she has picked herself up and now has a job and seems happy--this was nearly overnight it seems. When I talk to her I can see that she learned a lot at the facilities--she learned accountability and learned that only she can change her life. She learned to quit blaming others for her actions and she can talk reasonably and knows how to handle anger in an appropriate way. She seems much more mature now than most 18 yr olds and she used to always seem younger than most kids her age. So, I still wonder--would all this have happened anyway--she just needed to mature? I don't think so--she wouldn't have had the skills she has now without being in treatment. Of course, I sometimes feel resentful over all the money we spent--we live paycheck to paycheck despite having good incomes because we have a huge loan for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to pay off--we won't be done with it til my husband is 75. I'm glad it wasn't a total waste but wonder if we had to spend as much as we did.

I guess my final take on it is that you may not see a direct or immediate result from residential treatment--it may take years and then you may not know how much was a result of treatment anyway!



New Member
So far for us nothing has really worked. There were some short term improvements but they never lasted. husband ad I feel the outcome wold be the same if we had done nothing other than educate our difficult child. difficult child was in early intervention at age 2, He had an IEP that stayed with him throughout school. We had summer tutors so he didn't slide backwards. We put him in a private school for ADHD kids at the middle school level to prevent him from the effects of a perilous journey through teen years in a public school system. He has had all kinds of medications, Psycotherapy, Behavior modification therapy, and EMDR. He was sent to a magnet school for learning and behavior problems after a month back in public HS. He brought a toy gun to school and though he didn't take it out of his book bag he showed it to someone who reported him. They invoked the "look Alike" law and that was how difficult child first ended up in the legal system. The school suspended him for a full year and he was sent to the magnant facility. I think it was harsh for that particular event but difficult child had done much that he had not been caught at and the School was so perfect for his kind of problems that we didn't fight the placement. Truly if difficult child had not gone there he most likely would not have earned a diploma. outside of school we did Boy Scouts, Church youth group, sent him to windsurfing camp, computer camp, sailing camp (different on each summmer through Middle school and HS since he was an outcst in the neighborhood) for social development. He stole from the family almost his entire life. nothing we did could stop him from taking anything he wanted. He broke locks off our doors so it was not that he didn't know he was not allowed to take our things. He once told me he liked being sneaky. When he neared the end of HS he started his slide (we later learned this is when he started using pot and alcohol). When he reached 18 he was uncontrollable. He did a series of petty crimes and then acted as a lookout in a robbery. while waiting for his court date he continued to use and became very abusive and defiant. He had three visits to hospital Psyc wards for depression and rages. it culminated with his physical attack on me. After a brief stay in prison, we (with the blessing of the court) sent him to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). difficult child walked away from it even though he was doing well after only 2 months. He was taken back into custody and is serving an 18 month sentance which he can reduce to 4 months if he does their early release program. difficult child has bee thrown out of that program twice and in an effort to gain sympathy and control made a few superficial cuts on his wrists right before Christmas. We think he may have don this so we would spend more of our recouses in trying to get him out again.

So far the only real accomplishment we see after all our efforts is thqt difficult child earned a HS diploma.

I agree that nothing helps unless they have the desire and the ability to help themselves. We have no way of knowing if they have that until we try to help them over and over again. -RM

Sara PA

New Member
I suppose that I should add to my report that one psychologist we contacted said that my son (psychotic on antidepressants) would get better only if he spent 6-12 months in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). That was after a 45 minute interview. Sort of made me feel like it was a pat response to any mid teen boy who walked in the door. I never believed my son was chosing to behave badly, always thought that his deteriorating behavior was organic in nature but didn't learn until much later that it was being caused by the medication.

Instead of placing him in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC), we took him home. We had the advantage of being a two parent household which had been living on one income all along. We had the advantage of having no other children who were threatened by our son's violence. I was willing to deal with the violence directed at me because I knew it wasn't my "real" son but my sick son. And no one had answers for me that made me believe any hospital or facility had any ideas that weren't available outpatient.

He had to quit school for all intents and purposes in 10th grade. There was no way he could attend, either while in the violent psychotic state or the over-anxious agoraphobic state that lasted for years after discontinuing the antidepressant. He got his GED as soon as he was able to handle the stress. Fortunately he was bright enough that he didn't have to take classes, just the test.

There was contact with the juvenile justice system twice and I fought tooth and nail to keep him from being convicted and becoming a part of the system. I didn't think the system had anything to offer a sick child. He was not and would not plead guilty to any of the charges against him. The system officials wanted a guilty plea to "make sure he got the help he needed". Those words are meaningless. It makes it sound like there are answers for our kids and too many of us have found out that there aren't. Please save me from the well meaning who think alls ya gotta do is take your kid to the doctor and he'll get these pills that make everything better.

There were weeks at a time that I didn't leave the house unless my husband was home because I feared I would find my son dead when I came back. When my husband was away, I made quick runs to the grocery while my son slept, when he was in a good mood, or when he wanted something specific. If he asked me to go get him something, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to kill himself while I was getting it. Rarely was I gone more than an hour for years. Years.

My son is fairly normal now except for his incredibly low self esteem and high anxiety. He is trying desperately to function on his own. He has circled out and home once already and is leaving again today. I am sick with worry but sure he is doing the right thing. But he has friends where he is going and a support system of peers.

Our costs have included medical bills, home repairs, replacement of damaged items, lawyers fees, lost income because I was suppose to be going to work full time when all this started seven years ago. There were things we bought to help him try to leave the house on his own, like a nice car. There were things we bought because he couldn't leave the house on his own and needed entertainment like movies, books, video games and computers. There were costs for letting him follow the interests he developed while sitting home alone with his computer, the TV and me. There were the costs of moving him across the country, setting him up in his own place then back when he couldn't make it the first time. There were the costs of trips for him and me across the country. It sounds like we -- I (it's just me now) -- were spoiling him but we weren't. I was -- am -- trying to provide for his need to feel secure and strong enough to stand on his own like you would provide a wheel chair to someone who couldn't walk.

Was it worth it? I don't know. It will take years to know the answer. I just know that I made the choices that I felt were best for us. I did the best I can and am still doing it. I have surely made some mistakes. But there is improvement, slow forward progress. Every conversation I have with him I see improvement. Is it what I did? What I didn't do? Or is it just because he -- and his now damaged brain -- get older and more mature every day?

I don't know. I have more questions than answers.