Need answers

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by seekinganswers, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. seekinganswers

    seekinganswers New Member

    This if for all you experienced parents of teens. My difficult child (16) has ADHD and ODD. Currently is not on medications, he will not take them due to side effects and we were never sold on them. Peer group is very negative, has very low self esteem, grades are not good, school work is major struggle, serious behavior problems in school, quit all sports, very defiant, goes out every weekend with friends, therapist #4 diagnosed him with ODD, #5 told him not to return unless he wants help. Smokes tabacco in secret. No arrests, randomly tested negative for drugs (5 most common) for past 2 years, 6 months ago began testing him for alcohol which was detected 4x. Has held first job for the past 4 months now. Attends school everyday. Up until 14 was doing well enough behavior wise except for common ADHD issues which we treated with medications, discipline, structure, routine, etc. Did very well academically and in sports. At 14 negative changes began. Grades dropping, angry music selection, sneaking out at night, major change in appearance, bad choice of friends, angry all the time broke things at home, defiance, breaking rules, etc. Neuropsycho. test confirmed ADHD, but no other disfunction. Shortly thereafter was diagnosed with depression and treated with medications for several months. There is no relationship/ communication between H and difficult child unless something goes wrong and then all hell breaks loose. They used to be very close. H believes he will grow out of this or needs to hit rock bottom to change. I pressure H to educate himself about ADHD and ODD and help me with behaviour modification/ parenting techniques, but he won't. I worry difficult child might escalate to having CD. I also worry about easy child and how this is affecting him. He is sweet and loving. I have considered sending difficult child to a wilderness program and then boarding school to get him help, but H won't. We have a lot of arguments over this and idle threats to difficult child. Am I too emotional and over reacting about my difficult child? Is H right, do we need to let him get arrested, get kicked out or fail out of school before he makes the choice to change?
  2. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member


    I find it compelling that your son was functioning normally until age 14. Most of our kids showed very early signs of impairment. My daughter for instance was in therapy from about age 8. So based on that ... I might wonder if your son is experiencing some level of teenage angst.

    Negative drug tests ... that is a good sign.

    The effect that the peer group has on kids this age can't be understated. If he is running with a counter culture ... he's going to do whatever they are doing.

    Is he medication compliant with the depression medications?

    Maybe the family would benefit from some family therapy ... since it sounds like there are some struggles in communication.

    Your post described my brother. He went through the same issues his junior/senior year. He graduated by the skin of his teeth. He spent a few years after high school being difficult and my parents finally kicked him out. The good news is that he finally grew up and today is a wonderful mature father and man.

    All kids go through levels of angst at this age. It's a matter of degree.

    Set appropriate boundaries. Follow through with consequences. Continue to encourage therapy. And try to find a way to get you and hubby on the same page. Strength in numbers ya know??
  3. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    sounds like your son may have alcoholism issues. some kids take the alcohol with vicodin or other RX pills. it changes thier personality.
    ant went to 4 or 5 psychiatric grps for counseling. the final one told me he would not be seeing ant anymore because ant did not want help. he then continued to see me for a couple months to help me be strong and let natural consequences take over.
  4. seekinganswers

    seekinganswers New Member

    Thank you so much for your feedback. difficult child is currently not taking medications for depression since doctors determined he was not depressed anymore. H will not attend therapy (doesn't believe it helps and is very angry with me for insisting) and difficult child is not willing to participate constructively when he goes. I am thinking I should go by myself. I am also a very angry person and am not feeling well.

    As far as consequences for difficult child, only predictable consequences are a deterrent to difficult child negative behavior and choices. He doesn't want to go to jail so he hasn't broken the law and not because of anything we do. We have tried taking his phone and skateboard away, stopped giving him allowance, delayed getting his lerners permit for 1 year told him he won't get his license until he's 18, signed him up for outpatient treatment at a mental health facility, etc, but nothing changes his behavior. When he is grounded he will insult us, and walk out the door on the weekends. He is so strong willed he can give things up forever just to make a point our consequences don't work with him. When we took his skateboard away he gave up skating even though this was the center of his life at the time. I don't mess with is his guitar and his music since this is therapeutic and positive for him. H does not agree.

    So we focus on the big tiket items. Curfew is 11pm on weekends and he abides close enough. Allows random testing for drugs and alcohol. Goes to school every day and says he is trying to behave although he is well into the disciplinary process. Says he will pass all classes although he is currently failing 2. Holds a job at our request to keep him busy part of the week. Occasionally will participate in family gatherings activities.

    If he tests positive for drugs or fails/is expelled from school H and I have told him we will file an unruly child petition with Juvenile Court or send him to a wilderness program and special boarding school. difficult child knows H is not fully on board with these consequences. Do you have any feedback regarding the expectations and consequences we have set or not set for difficult child?

    Do you have any helpful information regarding the unruly child petition process with Juvenile Court or with wilderness programs and therapeutic schools?
  5. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    in PA you contact the juvenile system for a CHINS (child in need of services) petitition. it used to be called a petition of incorrigibility. they then sched a mtg and try to do all they can to keep the child in your home thru wrap around services such as counseling, in home visits and the like.
    it sounds to me like you are doing as much as you can about your son at this point. esp since he is not breaking the law.

    I think counseling for yourself is a good idea and can give you some support and ideas or if nothing else, help you to accept the course of events and detach.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you tested him for drugs beyond alcohol? I would. When a child suddenly starts misbehaving around his teen years, it's a red flag for all sorts of drug abuse, not just alcohol. He may know you're testing him for alcohol so not drink, but use other drugs. If his friends are drug users, you can almost bet that he's using them too. My daughter got into drugs at age 12. She refused help, counseling, etc. We didn't really know the extent of her drug use. Please make sure you don't make the same mistake we did.
  7. seekinganswers

    seekinganswers New Member

    Yes I test him randomly for 5 different kinds of drugs. He has been tested over the past 2 years since he first started having problems and so far they have been negative. He did admit once to having smoked pot.

    I have contacted a therapist for me so I'll see how this goes and maybe eventually will pursuade my H to go with me.
  8. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    By all means go to therapy for yourself. It's a support system for you.

    Testing for 5 drugs isn't enough. Are you sure he's not using one of the 100 ways to fool a drug test? Are you having this professionally done? Have you gone through all the many, many lists of things to look for? For most of us there were all those little signs we just didn't know were signs from the missing whipped cream can to the empty pen casings, etc, etc.

    Have you tried talking to the parents of his friends to see what you can find out? What they're doing is likely what he's doing. Particularly check with the friends who are no longer friends. Asked the school counselor what the school knows?

    Your husband is right that he won't change by your wishing it to be so. Let him get arrested, let him go to jail, I know how horrible this sounds but yes, he has to hit rock bottom, whatever that is for him.

    The PINS/ CHINS petition varies by state and even county. It can backfire on you so find out what happens with it in your area. Ask the local mental health assoc, other parents. It's highly unlikely that the state is going to pay for residential treatment because of such a petition or a first charge. Be careful that what you are threatening is really going to happen. Keep in mind that "the system" usually blames the parents first. Be sure that that petition isn't going to get CPS to your door.

    re the wilderness program... not all are created equal. You want one who has a therapy person, a real therapist on hand at all times. Not one that figures if they put him in the wilderness he'll change just because he's there.

    Yes, sibs are always affected. It's stress on them too.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Also re Wilderness don't expect to get a cured kid when he comes home. It's a temporary fix to keep him off the street for a while, but I don't know of anyone who sent a kid away and had the kid come home a different person. That's a personal decision that is completely up to the child/young adult---unless the child is acting out due to a mental illness. In that case, he needs professional help beyond just therapeutic settings.
  10. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    When was the last time he was tested for drugs? How often do you test him? I also have all of my red flags up for drug use. Especially because the professionals you have seen don't find anything else.

    Many of the behaviors you listed in your first post are on the list of 34 signs your teen may be using drugs,(from our archives) read here:

    My husband and I had no idea the extent of our sons drug use. We thought he was using marijuana only. Some of the drugs you are testing for in the drug store kits( assuming you are using those) don't stay in their systems that long.

    When my son went to juvy, they drug tested him. His test results showed marijuana only, many months later, he admitted to me that he couldn't believe that only marijuana showed up.

    Grades dropping, angry music selection, sneaking out at night, major change in appearance, bad choice of friends, angry all the time broke things at home, defiance, breaking rules

    I know that tough love is hard, it is hard on everyone. Your son has left you no choice. He is choosing lousy behaviors that are affecting your family. If he isn't doing drugs now, he is heading that way, the quicker you make it tougher on him. The easier it will be to make a point and hopefully change him.

    Sadly, not many of these kinds of kids change until they want to. When they are ready to live a more productive life, thats when they change.

    In the mean time, take care of you. Pay extra attention to the kids at home that aren't causing trouble, make time for your husband and you to go out and have fun, so you aren't at each others throats all the time over difficult child's issues.

    Welcome to the board, sorry you have to be here.
  11. DFrances

    DFrances Banned

    You have two challenges. A son asking for help in every way he knows how and a husband in denial about his own needing help.

    First, let’s look at all of the good things that you are doing.

    Your concern for you son’s well being and desire for him to succeed are very important. Discussing your frustrations and concerns about your son’s behaviors is important for you to do so you can vent and also gain ideas from other resources. There are several options you can look into to help your family cope with this problem. You have already tried medication. Therapy might be appropriate for your son.

    A therapist may also be able to help you work out a behavior plan with your son’s school. Another option would be to look into parenting classes in your area to learn new behavior modification techniques to deal with difficult behaviors. Remember that there are many parents who struggle with problems similar to this.

    A therapeutic wilderness program with residential is the ultimate.

    Make sure you work with an educational consultant. The choices you make regarding your adolescent's education and life steps are among the most important decisions a family makes.
  12. seekinganswers

    seekinganswers New Member

    Last time I tested him was 2 weeks ago. I actually test him for 6 drugs not 5. I test him after he's been out with his friends on Saturday evenings, but I also test him during the week. I test at least 3 times/month and keep it random. He has been tested professionally (hospital and pediatricians lab) 2x over the past 2 years and results were negative.

    I monitor his computer use/messages and I "search" (as he terms it) his room and all his stuff weekly. I talk to some of his friends parents, but some get too defensive and are in denial about their own kids. Some just don't care what their kids do.

    With all the checking I'm doing I don't beleive he is using drugs, but I could be wrong. I do know for a fact he drinks as much as every weekend. He has tested positive for alcohol several times. The natural consequence for this behavior is that he will not get his license until he is 18. His response, "I don't need a car I'll just get rides from friends". What else can I do?

    Thank you for all the advice. I do need to work on my relationship with my H and I will seek therapy for myself. Hopefully the rest of the family will follow.
  13. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    It sounds like you have the drug testing thing down. Again, he seems like he is at high risk for drug use.I am glad that his tests are coming back negative.

    I feel for you. I know how hard this is. Definitely get on the same page as husband. Even if you don't agree with him at all times.It is imperative that you two face your son together. My husband was tougher on Alex before I was ready for it. We were able to regain a little control on him once I toughened up. Sadly, our son died of an accidental overdose three weeks after he asked for help to kick heroin. He was clean for three weeks before he tested his fate one more time and lost.

    Good luck as you muddle your way through this. This website saved my sanity and the advice I got here was the best I ever got. Nobody knows how to deal with this unless they have dealt with it first hand.

    There are some kids here who have turned their lives around. Don't give up hope. Get your warrior mom suit on :warrior: and let him know who is in charge. If you haven't already, take everything out of his room but a mattress. Give him the bare necessities he needs to live until he wants to be a productive member of your family.

    Keep posting, we will help you through this.
  14. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thank you for all your advice. It is wonderful coming from someone that has experienced what you have. Any one of us could be you - I hope i can do what it takes to be brave.