Letting go


member since 1999
Here I thought I had detachment down cold. HAH! 2x4 descended on my head as I crawled along the Dan Ryan parking lot (aka highway) this morning.... easy to be "detached" when there are no dire consequences awaiting difficult child if he makes a boneheaded move. Not so easy when he loses some protection by moving to a lesser restrictive environment where he will have more freedom to make boneheaded choices. Pass the Ativan (or scotch).

This program is a go. Very small self contained school. Kids of all ranges, from one kid returning home to attend 4-year college to kids who will transition into adult group homes and adult day programs. Very individualized. It will be what thank you makes of it (please, God, help me to impress this vital fact upon my son).

Group home was *spotless*. "Members" do the cooking, cleaning, everything, with assistance when needed. To my eyes, *excellent* transition program. Level system, free time is earned, a ton of freedom compared to what he's had for the last 6.5 years. First 2 weeks are 24/7 supervision, training on how to use public transportation, familiarizing with- community (nice up and coming area of the city - school is a hop, skip, and jump away from Wrigley Field). After that, it's based on his level and staff's feel for his capability.

They've had frequent contact with Chicago PD and they've apparently been very helpful with- raging members. So we can hopefully avoid the courts for a few more years. Transport to hospital is standard MO. Staff will restrain if they think they can do it safely for all involved, otherwise 911. Only exception is drugs, which CPD will arrest for. Fine by me. Got several reassurances that drugs are *not* a rampant issue, although one member apparently enjoys his pot. I'm having to be laid back on this. thank you *will* come in contact with drugs. It's unrealistic to think he won't. Heck, he already has by his report at bad Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Random room searches are standard, as are UA's if staff feel it's warranted.

We have 2 choices - TLP or home. Other TLP is not approved for state funding (which is a big red flag in and of itself since the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) associated with- that TLP is). Home isn't an option, yet.

This is *very* hard. I just don't know if he's ready. LOL, he just called and after about a minute staff told him he needs to go to group and his response was "I don't have those issues". I told him, quickly, that this is exactly what I'm worried about. He *has* to do what he's supposed to do without attitude in order for this new placement to work. It's a ton of responsibility and accountability (comparatively speaking) and ... I just don't know if he's there yet. I just know that he's not needing the level of care at current Residential Treatment Center (RTC) anymore.

So... I'm calling his therapist tomorrow to get her take, because I'm just too doggone close. It feels in a way like I'm having to let go a bit, which I *know* I'm supposed to be doing but... good gravy, it's hard.

I went skeptical today. I don't want to accept a choice because it's our only one. I was pleasantly surprised on all counts. I also had a bit of a moment... group home is blocks away from his first Residential Treatment Center (RTC), which I went and looked at 7 years ago, almost to the day. While it wasn't snowing today like it was 7 years ago, it was wickedly cold and very deja-vu-ish. If this is the next placement, we have come full circle, geographically speaking.

I don't know. It's time to let him try. It's hard to balance letting him try and ... knowing if we're setting him up for failure. I think if he came home, we'd be doing the latter. We've done that, twice. I want so *badly* for him to be able to function, to succeed, to be happy.


Active Member
(((Hugs))) Sue, It sounds like a good place. I hope it works out for him. I know each step is hard on our mommy hearts.


Well-Known Member
I don't know the answer, I only hope and pray that this new placement will work for thank you. Will be here to support you as you go through this. We're all there with you. {{{Hugs}}}

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

Letting go - or letting our difficult children accept responsibility & consequences for choices made with-o all the supervision of Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is one of the hardest transitions for a parent, in my humble opinion.

It's beyond nerve-wracking. thank you wants the concept of this freedom - his choices & behaviors will dictate how he handles this setting. I know how much he wants to prove himself yet his ability to self regulate is still so very fragile.

I hope thank you ups & surprises the heck out of us. I pray that you'll maintain a level of detachment needed to take this next step, if it's approved.

Take care, my friend.


Active Member
Sue - I Just want to wish you and thank you much luck with the new placement. I know this is nerve-wracking to say the least.


call 911........call 911

My son is currently living at home due to a broken jaw/surgery/and post op care that the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) couldn't possibly have taken under. As I sat in the surgeons office the fateful morning listening to all the "cans and could happens" I went into a trance like state. I swear I could hear someone (the surgeon) talking but for $1,000.00 I couldn't have told you one thing he had just said. Instead I was going over in my head mentally how many Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, placements, hospitals, staff faces, kids faces, missed holidays, pain and heartache, and how many times we have tried to bring him home and how many times it stays okay for a little while and then falls apart to the point of needing another Residential Treatment Center (RTC), or placement. I had to interrupt the doctor and ask him for a moment please telling him that this was a little overwhelming. He did.

When we left the office, I saw a bumper sticker that said (for the whole enchilada I would have bet my life) REAL MEN SAVE PENNIES. (Later I was to find out it was not that at all, it said REAL MEN LOVE JESUS. But Pennies made me start laughing hysterically. Sister, I'll tell ya, I was laughing so hard, I was barking like a seal and then other dumb, non-sensical stuff popped into my head and I started talking about THAT...and 20 minutes into this comedy routine DF was so concerned about me he started to pull the car off the highway and THAT made me laugh harder. The look of concern on his face....I vaguely remember saying "What's the matter, afraid I won't pick the right color leather for your wallet in craft class? Don't worry....fughaddaboudit....I'm makin' you SLLLLLLLLLippperrrrrs." and then kept saying slippers over and over. All the while my difficult child is in the back seat witnessing what is a full blown honest to gosh, nervous breakdown. Except in MY case, being a humorous soul, I didn't cry (oh had I cried I never would have stopped) I had what is called a Reactive emotion. Trances and reactive states save us sometimes from what our body deems dangerous. Had I not laughed....I'd be making....Sllllllippers out of a foam kit or maxi pads (have you seen those they are so tacky) but I would certainly be in a mental hospital.

And yes. I do know what you are feeling on a different scale. My son, was supposed to complete this Residential Treatment Center (RTC), move to lower mgmt. home, and then to a group home setting with a job/college....and now he's home. And I'm worried. I have the same apprehensions, that he will :censored2: up, that he won't take ADVANTAGE of THIS opportunity of being home with us to help him, that it will only take () much for him to be off and on his wicked way, and it be the end of it. But the difference is, I really have been working in therapy the last year to let it/him go. To realize that it IS his life/choices and the consequences are HIS also. And it stinks so bad I'd rather have dinner with a skunks behind.....but it's reality. (I've already had dinner with a skunks behind, I was married once) but you get what I'm saying.

I wondered when I took difficult child out of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) what would happen. Then I did my stress relieving technique and told myself it will be what it will be and all my worrying will NOT change or help the situation one bit. (and given a choice Atavan or Scotch?) ......I'm going to hit the High Road....Lassie.

Hugs for your heart. Tissue for your tears. Chocolate for your moods. (Oh that's me)

Love ya
You suppose these two were twins separated in another life? Oy!


Well-Known Member
What a choice you face. It's so hard to know which is the right direction to take on this adventure we travel with our kids. I sent mine to Buffalo with blind trust, expecting him to stay, and four days later he found his way back home. On that journey---one where he chose the destination and the choices---he grew. I wasn't there---and he grew. I wasn't "handling" things for him---and he grew. He came home changed. He is the same today as he was when he arrived back here--and still growing. He is now in a "group" home/sober house/recovery house---whatever the name, they are all the same. He is making sound decisions. He still has some issues, but he has grown enough to work through them on his own. I hope that thank you (and Stardude and all the other difficult children) can reach that place. It is magical when it happens.


Active Member
in my humble opinion if the placement seems OK , I would rather have a difficult child there and not at home.
I have a theory that when difficult children are at home their brains stop working, the emotional baggage between parent and child gets in the way , we don't have the ability to give a kid the structure that a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) can give. We parents can be a support for the kid, his advocate , mentor and guide without the powerstruggles that get in the way. We can thus improve our relationships with kids The kid has to make a decision about his future , clarify his goals , how to get there , obstacles and challenges in the way. We can help , not by lecturing , but by using dialog questioning, so he does the thinking and comes to conclusions. If he sees the placement as a window of opportunity to help himself and also to become a contributing member of society , he can try help others there , be a positive influence , so even if he feels a course does not apply to him, see it as a learning experience and also one to help others. His insight and ability to relate to other kids will not only benefit them , but also empower him. In any group there are those negative influences , people who don't want to make a change and take responsibility for the lives and make a positive impact on others and it is hard to avoid the flattery and charm of those who don't want us to succeed. I am not so keen on RTCs that use consequences , level systems as the main tool of behavior management and leverage. It teaches a kid what's in it for me , instead of what type of person do I want to become. Maybe he will find a peer mentor , an older person who will be a his cheerleader and confidant
He needs to have a vision for the future and how to get there.
Sending positive thoughts and prayers in your direction that there will be positive people in your kid's life to whom he will respond



Active Member
Sue, you angel you. you have had a long road with thank you. you love him so much and I am sure it is hard to watch his transformation post puberty and into adult. You are doing a really wonderful job with your parenting. God bless you and thank you too.


Former desparate mom
Sue, gradual release of control is a good thing. He will make choices, he will make mistakes. He may never turn into the personality that you hoped. He will turn into who he wants to be. You guide, you admonish, you hug, you let go.
He is getting to the point where pleasing his parents is second to finding himself(not that he made much effort to please his parents-at least not obviously)
He is your second teen but the first difficult child to grow up. Even easy child's :censored2: up, it's just easier for them to learn from their mistakes than difficult child's. Especially the one's who just know they know everything.

I alternate between thinking I was too hard on difficult child to thinking I was too easy on difficult child. I think I tried to see what he needed at the time. It's the best I could do.
See what he needs and trust that he will learn as well as stumble. There is no fault or blame if he does. It's just part of the journey.