Never say never...please don't make crass

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
generalizations on the decisions some of us have had to make on behalf of our children.

Five years ago, I would never have considered placing either of my children in "the system". Would never have considered bringing help into my home, taking the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) route or god forbid, a therapeutic foster care home.

Unfortunately, my children's severe illnesses/disorders have forced my hand.

I'm lucky - I interview the staff that enters my home. I have a working relationship with "the system". Have worked hard to develop mutual respect with the team I deal with on a daily basis.

I think of many parents here who have taken some of the same steps that husband & I have had to take. They never believed their children would end up "in the system".

They never believed that those same children would manipulate "the system". (Janna, I pray for you today).

If love could cure there would be no need for this board. I would ask that each of you consider all of the options available for your children....never close a door. It may be needed someday.

Never say never.....I did & I was wrong.


member since 1999
I agree, Linda. When I joined the board in '99, Fran's signature said her difficult child had been in EGBS for 18 months. I remember thinking to myself, "I could *never* do that." Funny how things come back to bite you sometimes... here we are after 81 months in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and thank you is still out of the home with no end in sight. I suspect that by the time he hits 18, he will have spent a full half of his childhood in institutions.

Ideally, we wouldn't have to get our kids in the system because we do lose the ability to make choices and have control sometimes. But... I firmly believe that when a parent considers getting a child in the system it's because there are simply no other options. My gosh, when I think of all the police reports we filed, of calling prosecutors to *beg* them to charge thank you, begging psychiatrists and SWs and school officials and insurance companies... we left no stone unturned. We considered moving to IN because *there* at least we had a darn good chance of getting thank you into court-ordered Residential Treatment Center (RTC) sooner. We would have had to give up custody but realistically we were running out of options and fast.

It's easy to say after the fact that getting involved in the system was a bad idea, especially if you have not had a good experience. But I think it does a disservice to parents who have traveled the same path, and parents who ultimately *will* have to follow the same path. Again, I don't believe it is ever a choice that is easily made and more often than not, I believe it's a choice made out of desperation because there is simply nothing left to choose from.

It may work out, it may turn out to be the experience from h*ll. Good intentions and all that... none of us itentionally wanted to get involved in an intrusive, overloaded, unresponsive "system". Not all of us ended up in a system like that. We do the very best we can with what is in front of us (or more truthfully, with the resources that we scrounge for without guidance or help). When we cannot deal with our child's behaviors, when the hospitalizations and therapy and medications and Special Education don't begin to touch what for some of us are children who are truly dangers to themselves and/or others, we have to do what we can.

*Never* say never.


New Member
Linda, I'm not sure if this in response to my reply in view of Janna's post or not. But I think maybe your position has been different than what Janna or myself have gone through in that way. If I am right in Janna's position, she and I have both been totally left out of the loop while our children were "in the system". We were not as fortunate, I guess the word would be, to be allowed involved in their care. I begged for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for 3 years for B but because he was on probation nothing I said did any good. Please don't think I sit in judgement of any parent here, or anywhere, for that matter. We all suffer the trauma of trying to find a way to help them. In some instances, it seems to work against us. If what I said offended you, I'm sorry. That was not meant. I have just not had good results in the state I'm in and I feel moving mine from where he is was a much better way to go. I had a choice: fight for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or allow juvenile hall once again. I'm glad you're experience has been so much better in that you've got to be involved. That has worked well for you and yours.


New Member
Did I put my foot in my mouth somewhere, Linda? Oh, geez, if so, I'm sorry :crying:

I think I missed something. If I hurt feelings or offended with what I said, I didn't mean to. I was only speaking of me and my situation.

By the way, when I said I will never put Dylan in the same situation (if that's what you're referring to), I meant it. I will live, deal and tolerate before I go through it again. Unless he is ripped away from me without my knowledge, against my free will or because of abuse (which means never), he will not leave me until it's his time to be on his own.

That doesn't mean it's a bad choice for others. I'm only saying for me. Maybe I shouldn't say never. But right now, it's never.



timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Ladies, it's no one person & everyone. I'm fatigued & it shows.

I live "the system" daily - have worked hard to create mutual respect among my team. The team & I have our moments - yet, in the end, we work well together.

My family includes staff & services; foster mum & dad along with mental health CM, psychiatrist, therapist & various & sundry other SWs.

There are threads that I just need to stay away from - it's too close emotionally.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
I read about all of the situations those of you with older g'fg are in and I had to wake up real quickly... I knew in my heart that no amount of love could really help my daughter... I have been told by every professional she has seen. that she is pretty severe for a 5 yo, the only ones that they see worse are usually adopted.

So I had to list the best case scenerio and worst case for her future and be very realistic... husband still didn't want to think like that and thought I was being negative. I told him that I was not being negative I was being realistic and preparing for our daughter's future... I am positive from day to day but reality is always there...

Who knows we may get lucky and not have to face many of the painful choices you have had to on this board... but I am not going to bet on it.

Timerlady I think this is an important topic I am sure there are many lurkers and members here who judge us all everyday, from the medications to placement etc.

It does need to be said on occasion... I have learned a great deal from your pain and suffering, which is not fair, but it will help me in my journey...

I have hope for all of us to be more understanding...


Active Member
As always in retrospect (my son is now 21) you can always be the best armchair quarterback that ever was - lol. It is very hard to parent these kids. Yes, few of us want our kids in the system. My son was in the system as far as jail went. We never had social services involvement. However, we did have counselors, in-home therapy, medications, hospitalizations, RTCs, etc..

I think if I am honest with myself, I've got to say that I wish I had never had the occasion to come to the CD board. However, here I am - over 6 years later and things are no better and in some ways worse now. It is no fun. However, I thank Fran and Abbey and those that have gone before for getting this off the ground and keeping it running.

This is one of the few places where we can be free to be us. No one should be too hard on themselves. Take care...judi


Active Member
I sometimes feel like I am living the never say never. I never imagined I would have a child that needed medications, I was against it. I was very ignorant. I do not even want to think of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. I would rather take it day by day. For today, difficult child is better. Still a little hyper, but listens better (to me) and seems to have a better understanding about how his actions or words can hurt others.

Most of you on the board have been thru so much more than my family and I. I hope this offends no one, but sometimes just reading the threads pulls me out of my pity party I try to start in on occasionally. This is my safe place, my place where I am not judged for my decisions, and where I am given honest opinions in a helpful and caring manner.


Well-Known Member
Linda, HUGS!

I am glad you posted this. It is important for others to take a step back and see that sometimes it does work. Sometimes the system does what we believe it is intended for. Sometimes it does not.


I ended up doing things I did not imagine would be necessary. Ex-difficult child was a fairly "normal" little boy but when he started school, the problems just got worse and worse. Then adolescence arrived and everything became unmanageable. It is not the out of home placement I fear for others--it is the BAD out of home placements. Sometimes, there are no options left but bad ones. Which is the least worst? is a very tough place to be.

In retrospect, the time ex-difficult child spent out of our home seems inconsequential in terms of the gains he made. However, he did not spend 81 months in RTCs.

Hugs to all of you--it is so true--if love were enough, none of us would be here.



Well-Known Member
Though I haven't had to face the decisions that many have had to make regarding their difficult children, I have made the "never" comment when it came to medications. In fact, I was anti-medication. I completely bought into the whole "we're over-medicating our kids" propaganda.

Boy, did I ever have to eat crow over that one.

I don't condemn anyone who looks to the system for help. I just wish everyone could have positive results.


Active Member
I feel very lucky that difficult child 3 is unlikely to ever need to be placed outside the home. As he's getting older he's coping better. The sort of support he needs is very different. Besides, we just don't have a lot of the options you have in the US. There are optional foster placements, as well as forced placement. I think there's a sort of placement for unruly kids in a hostel environment, but with far less intervention that I think these kids need by that stage.

Most parents I talk to have no choice but to try to manage, often with protective services people breathing down their necks. A woman I was talking to yesterday was describing some of her problems. I've got to know her and I can see how she could be easily misunderstood. She smokes (in a country where this is increasingly a minority, and where smoking in the presence of the kids is close to being outlawed). She looks 'rough', talks much the same and is stick thin, as thin as a junkie. She lives in public housing, where a lot of addicts also live. She's a single mother with a pack of kids ranging across twenty years or more. She's a grandmother already, with kids the same age as her grandchildren. She gets judged.
Her daughter won't go to school. The problem is, she can't wake up. Sounds like a mother not in control, who isn't enforcing school attendance and who is making up excuses. The truant officer turned up to drag the kid to school. The mother invited her in, said, "Fine - if you can get her up, I'll invite you back every day." The truant officer picked the girl up and tried to rouse her - she couldn't. Putting her in a cold bath won't wake her. The mother was asked what she had medicated her daughter with. Nothing. All medications had been stopped, in case it was medication-related.
The girl was assessed at a clinic whose report (the mother showed it to me last night) HAD to include (why, I don't know) that this little girl comes from a family of 6 kids, ranging in age from thirty to six, and none of the kids has the same father. It said a lot more of the same, worded in a manner guaranteed to bias anyone reading it.

This woman is a darned good mother. She's had a tough life but she's very smart, has had to learn to fight the system and handle a lot of rubbish thrown her way. Whenever she has to deal with officials or educators who haven't met her, they judge by appearances. Her daughter's hair is constantly matted into dreadlocks, even when the mother has spent hours combing it out and plaiting it. Despite being a sound sleeper the little girl is also a restless sleeper, and 16 hours a day sleeping means she looks a fright.

Because this woman gets judged so negatively (and really, she is doing all she can to reduce misunderstandings) it has taken literally years to get close to some answers for her daughter. Meanwhile this kid has missed several years of school - not good for an 8 year old.

Linda, I'm really glad you've had the opportunity to be involved in wm's care. At least we know the system can work for some people. I wish it worked as well for others. You've done an amazing job and they have worked with you to give wm better help than he could have got as things were. The trouble is, some people judge others unfairly and then when this is found to be incorrect it's easier to try to cover up the damage they've inadvertently done, than to try to fix it. Janna tried for what you achieved, but being in a different area, dealing with different people - it has, with the benefit of hindsight, been less than a success. It's experiences like this that help those willing to constantly fine-tune and improve, to do even better. Unfortunately, there are officials out there too willing to let such opportunities go by, because to take advantage of the chance for change is to admit they got it wrong. And that they can never do.



New Member
Where our difficult child is concerned, husband and I have done a lot of things we said we'd "never" do.

I, too, was against medication. I cried the first time I gave difficult child ritalin - 6 years ago. I have cried several times since, when trialing and discarding a new medication that we had hopes for.

We were 'never' going to allow difficult child to be placed in a contained classroom. He has been in that setting for 3 years now. Before his placement, I know that I posted on this board that I was fighting the sd on the subject. It has been a hard battle to maintain a civil, let alone working, relationship with the sd through the years, but for the most part, we've succeeded.

We were 'never' going to get to the point where we would have to hospitalize difficult child. He has been inpatient 3 times in 4 years. Each time we are convinced that it was necessary and the best place for difficult child at those times in his life.

We have learned, the hard way of course, that 'never' really should be one of those words that is condemned.

We might not like all of the things we have had to do, but we have done them with the best interest of difficult child. Truthfully, some of the moves we've made were far harder on us than on difficult child.

I won't even think about how many opinions from family and friends that we have endured over the years. That's an entirely different thread, I think.

And, all of our decisions haven't been good ones, although they were all made with the best intentions. You live and you learn.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that none of us has a crystal ball - we can't see into the future, so we really don't know what decisions we may make with regard to our difficult children. And, each difficult child is different - each family dynamic is different, etc. At the end of the day, you just have to do what is right for you on that particular day - and hope that the outcome is a positive one - for you and your family.

Just my .02.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Martie, I agree - it's the BAD placements that terrify me. The uncaring, judgmental professionals that keep parents from seeking help.

There are some areas, some professionals (SWs, CMs, psychiatrists, tdocs, schools, etc) that are very willing to help a parent find answers - the right "treatment plan" for their children.

There are other areas & professionals who, for whatever reason, don't give a rat's :censored2: & leave a parent with few choices.

Am I lucky? Darned right; however, I've learned the system, worked by behind off to utilize what I've learned from the system & demanded accountability from that system.

I'm also grateful that the team I deal with daily (even with my children in treatment settings) recognize the level of care that my children require. They recognize how very fragile my children are mentally & emotionally.

Thank you for all your thoughts & responses on this.


I was a person who said "never" about a lot of things, and boy, am I eating my words.

It is hard, still, to read a post or hear a story of a parent having a difficult time with their child and not think about how you, yourself, would handle the same situation. And as many of us have learned, our opinions change when we're living those situations vs. commenting on them from the angle of "what if".

There are a few things I still will say "I would never" to. I have learned, and am still learning, to say "I'm glad I'm not in that situation that forces a decision like that be made". Cause you're oh, so right. Never usually just means "not as long as things are like they are right now". We won't know what we'll do until we live it.


Active Member
it can happen in other areas too.
I have worked in the dental field for 36 years. the other day a patient told me he does not believe in crowns and will never have one done again. (even though he truly needs three).

why? because he had three done by a bad dentist yrs ago and ended up losing the teeth.

I can attest that crowns can and do work if done right.

so there now we have a man who had a bad exp and now doesnt believe in this and wishes he never had a crown.
had he been to a good dentist, he would say crowns are great and saved his teeth!

hmmm I hope that is not too far a stretch here. if it works, I guess we all believe in it. if not, we are discouraged and unlikely to believe it is a solution.

I still think we have to seek out all options. We make the best decision at that time with the information we have at hand. a gamble.


New Member
I have been thinking about this post ever since you first posted it, but I had to wait till I got to the library to reply.
In my head I have formed several versions of my reply since then.
First, I do need to say people learn via their experiences. When someone like me or Janna says "never" it is most likely due to our own personal experience. This is different than us saying "never" with no first hand experience. To NOT learn by our own experience would make us idiots. How often do we complain about our difficult children when they do not learn from their experiences or when they do not want to accept natural consequences etc?

I have been involved with some "system" or another for the better of 2 decades. Actually closer to 4 decades.
Myself, my husband, and 2 of my children have been patients in our mental health care system here where we live for 2 decades. So has a nephew (not related to me by blood), a brother and countless other people I am familiar with.
I have seen it at it's worst and at it's best. I have been on both sides of the same "system"- have worked in a professional capacity within and have been a consumer/client of it's services. All 3 of my children have been involved in our school system and IEPs etc. 2 of my children have had "Special Education" here. (oldest and youngest) and 2 of my children have been involved with the criminal justice system here, one as a "criminal" victim and witness in several cases. One as a victim and witness.

In the early 90s, there was a widespread mindset that children could not be bipolar. It was also assumed that any children exhibiting serious signs of mental illness were victims of poor parenting or abuse. Oddly enough my dhs first doctors in our county erroneously disbelieved my husband claim of non substance abuse. They also erroneously disbelieved my claims of non violence between husband and myself.
For 5 years my husband was treated as if he were lying about his symptoms and habits. Our oldest child was treated under the assumption that her parents were violent, druggies, noncaring people. My husband is not violent. Neither me nor my husband even drink, much less do any drugs. My husband's catatonia was a manifestation of profound delayed onset combat PTSD. I realized that after my own research in between trying to raise 3 children, care for husband and work 2 jobs. (and with no internet to assist me)
Early on in treatment for my oldest child I did not realize quite the mindset in our area at that time. Yes, I submitted to a psychiatric evaluation, and yes they drugged me. I cannot say they medicated me becuz from the time they began those pills, my life became h-e-l-l.
My husband was put into day treatment for his catatonia and I was put there- I still do not understand this- "to give me a "day mode" Well, I HAD a "day mode" I had a job, I was the only - yes the ONLY- person in our large 200 person day treatment program with a job- a job I continued thru my 5 very long years in day treatment. Turns out I was also the only one who still had custody of my children, and the only one who owned a home. And yes, one of the very few who did not use illegal drugs or drink.
I was coerced into all of this becuz the powers that be continued to tell me that unless I did this, go to day treatment and take these drugs they demanded I take, they WOULD take my children and outplace them.
Ironic at the time, I also earned "Parent of the Year" from Headstart. I also earned "Employee of the Year" for my outstanding treatment plans, observational skills in the dementia unit and accountings of patients behavior and compliance with careplans for our difficult mentally ill patients.
Imagine the director of day treatment programs face when he realized I was one and the same person. LOL.
By then I had internet access and had read a lot about childhood mental illness. I was also on a comittee at my job (I worked in a county facility and was technically a government employee) about the use of "chemical restraints" - we had a psychotropic medications review board and not a one of our patients could be on a psychiatric medication without having weekly staffings.
Meanwhile I was learning a lot about what was going on in the world re:mental illness in children.
I joined NAMI and CABF and went to conferences and seminars about ADD, ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Bipolar, schizophrenia etc. SOme of them I went as a parent, some as a nurse, some as an employee in our county healthcare system.
By then I found myself defending my childrens rights in Special Education at school, and questioning the ever increasing negative symptoms in my children, myself and my husband. I was also having CPS visits weekly.

There was an 11 month time here when our county mental health system, and the ONLY psychiatrists and tdocs available for us geographically, the 11 months--- they ran without a psychiatrist becuz the one psychiatrist quit and no new psychiatrist started.
During that time my husband landed in psychiatric hospital, a very odd strange story. He was again catatonic and his therapist suggested psychiatric hospital, so I took him to ER for intake. He was sitting quietly in a chair beside me and the kids (I had no help with our children) and I took the kids to the vending machine and when I looked up, my husband was missing. We had been waiting in ER for several hours. I asked receptionist where he was, she looked me straight in the face and said she had never seen me before, did not know what I was talking about. 5 long days of fear and worry later,- after having been escorted out of ER by security, and filing missing persons on my very ill husband, I found him.........quite by accident- thru someone else in day treatment program who had just been released from phsop. HE told me my husband was there.
Why was my husband phosped this way? The ER staff had decided I must have physically abused my husband for him to become catatonic, so they took him and hid him from me. Not only that but without gathering his history, they also then medicated him with medications he has severe adverse reactions to.

AT the same time I was fighting to find out why my son did not walk properly or potty train. The huge amount of in home "help" we had at that time blamed my parenting. The psychiatrists, tdocs, behavior specialist (with Masters and PhDs) the case managers and facilitators and pediatrician all continued to assume it was inconsistant parenting. ALas, even with years of all these in home services, they had no better luck.
On my own, behind their back I got my son in to SHriners. SHriners found my sons heterotopia and mild cerebal palsy. He was 9. I had been complaining and seeking help for him for years.

By then I also decided to change our mental health care out of this area. Being part of NAMI and CABF and reading from Paplos and Greene, I decided our entire area simply was still stuck in the dark ages.
DOing so caused me to be seen as a trouble maker. It caused a massive increase in CPS visits and more problems at school.
AT that time I got copies of ALL our charts and files from all the care providers we had had for all those years.

What I read shocked and horrified me. It also disgusted me.
I was accused of just about every horrible thing you can imagine. I had followed every single recommendation proposed to me. I followed thru with every single bit of advice. In return I was accused of such ridiculous things, you cannot imagine.
The charts and files were also so erroneous in events and how they happened, listed events that never happened, and entirely twisted ones that did. Nevermind I had submitted to drug testing over and over for presence of illegal drugs and they were all clear, that is NOT what the records said. The records also accused us of sexually abusing our children. Where did they get this idea? our girls wore nitegowns and some idiot decided nitegowns make for easy access!!!!!
The records accused me of Munchausen by proxy among other things. They accused me of witholding medications and fabricating side effects. Nevermind my kids blood levels for medications always came back proper, and very often it was in home caregivers administering medications.

I do not know how many times I tried to discuss Papalos or Greene with the local psychiatrist. I do not know how many times I asked about the adverse effects of ADs....and wondered aloud to my dtrs psychiatrist if the zoloft could have triggered her suicidal actions. Those kinds of questions usually only brought more hard nosed events such as me not being permitted to administer my childrens medications.
Eventually I got my oldest in at a major university teaching hospital.
It did not end there. The local agency was not happy to have me take my dtr elsewhere and continued to call CPS. The school did not like my child being seen out of our area either, and they also called CPS, and our new psychiatrist and ndocs had to submit documentations to CPS that we were being seen and we were complying with treatment. Then the old docs and school decided to try to attack psychiatrists credentials.

When I say "never" it is becuz of extreme and vast negative experiences spanning several years, not just of my life, but of my whole family. My son was 10 years old before he got to spend any time at all without so many in home specialists in his face.
We have been with our "new" doctor approx 7 years now, and truth is my husband and oldest child have never behaved betetr, never performed better- BUT there is negative residual.
Between our mental health system and our school system here locally, our current psychiatrist, my dhs current psychiatrist (now at a VA hospital) all our tdocs and our ndocs ALL believe that my dtr was made much WORSE at the hands of our local school system and mental health system.

Sadly, I saw signs of it starting all over again with my son. I pulled him out of school.

I understand in 7 years things can change. I also understand something else. I worked VERY hard, researched and lobbied and brought info here. I educated our mental health agency, I educated our school district. AT the time of my dtrs needs, there were no accomodations, no placements, no positive interventions.
I DID bring some change here...and I did work VERY hard to do so. I still do not know how I managed to care for my 3 kids, deal with their disabilities, provide the daily care my husband requires, work 2 jobs, and deal with my own disabilities. LOL- I testified at the Pres Comm for Mental Health, LOL- got called in as a last minute speaker, boarded a train on my scooter at midnite to testify in the city at 8 am. Sept 11, 2002. (I remember the date cuz I was skittish to be in CHicago that day)

But you see, now I have a reputation for trying to change things. Many people do not like change. I did accomplish getting some policies locally changed, but the mindset of those professionals takes time to change.
I can and I will say I will NEVER have one of MY children back in our system here.

ANd for those of you with younger children, some of the positive things you do now have access to? Many of those positive things came into being becuz of parents like me who came before you and worked very hard to insitute even while we also were living in the trenches.
When I first started this journey, not one single psychiatrist would give children in our area any other medication except stims. I was early on in the process of getting all these medications available to these ill children. AT that time in this area, children were NOT diagnosis'ed bipolar at all. But given family history and symptoms, I argued pushed and lobbied.
Yes, since then my children are now psychiatric medication free, and that is only becuz of our negative side effects.......
I was in on the ground floor for all these children to get their diagnosis'es and have access to the medications so many of you now use. ANd yes, my child was a guinea pig.

SO please do not act surprised if after all my own personal experience I say "never" about anything.

In 5, 10 or 20 years, I have a feeling you might be standing where I am right now. You are continuing the work we began.
None of it is perfect, it is all hit or miss, trial and error, mental health science and treatment has a LONG way to go.
But at this time it is time for me for my kids to say "never"

I would be a fool not to learn from my own experience. ANd I myself have plenty of experience to base my "never" upon.

Most of the time I post here and very often people find me "odd" I am sure.
DO notice I seldom enforce or deny anything about medications or treatments. I relay MY own experiences. Sadly far too many of my experiences have been less than good. BUT lessons have been learned even by negative experiences.
Mostly what I usually am trying to say is keep your eyes open. Be aware of any risks. If positive and negative experiences will help shape future treatments for children in the future.
It is not somethng any of us would choose, it is just how it is.
But please give me credit for being able to knowingly say "never"
Yes I live with 2 seriously profoundly mentally ill people every single day.
But, I CAN say "never" based on my own personal experience.
and if you carefully read any of my posts, usually I tell parents to trust their guts and hearts. and I tell them to keep their eyes open. you bring people into your home, be aware of the risks. If you try a medication, be aware of the risks.
Truth is most of what most of us here are dealing with still has no concrete answers. Your


Well-Known Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">First, I do need to say people learn via their experiences. </div></div>

But shouldn't each experience be judged on it's own merit?


New Member
so I should decide each time, case by case, do I wanna touch this hot stove, do I wanna touch this hot BBQ grill, do I wanna touch this hot muffler?
I am not sure.......but, I like to think sometimes carrying knowledge over can be a good thing.