New & glad to be here.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lambsear2, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. lambsear2

    lambsear2 New Member

    I am so glad that I found this board!

    The last few years have been very difficult. difficult child has been home from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) since Sept (was away for 18 mos). He was placed by family court after things got out of hand. He seems to have come to terms with his disruptive/abusive behavior and anger issues. When he first came home, we were all tentative. The stress level in the house is no where near where it used to be. difficult child is not as argumentative or confrontational. But as time has gone on, he has began to slip back to some old behaviors (along the lines of non-compliance). difficult child is like a ghost in the house- he lives in the house, but not 'with' us. He is not social with family, but is either out with friends or stays in his room all the time (door closed of course). He does not converse with us and does not seem interested in any interaction unless it involves food or he needs something (money, a ride, permission to do something) If we try to speak to him, often he is moving away and always seems to be on his way to doing something that is more important/interesting that speaking to us. He actually will leave the room/house when we come home. I recognize this as a coping skill. If he is quiet and doesn't make waves, we will not confront him about things or interact with him.

    My concern is that difficult child lacks motivation to do… anything. He is making no effort is school; often cutting classes, not doing assignments etc. Ironically, he has passed his RCT exams (in lieu of state regents) and will be eligible to graduate when he gets the required class credits. While I realize he has limitations and challenges because of the ADD- but he won't even make the effort. The school just filed a PINS application (person in need of supervision) because of his excessive absences. The school district is ready to hand him over to the court system just so they don't have to deal with him. (Not they have not really tried to help him beyond standard additional services at the public school) (Prior to Residential Treatment Center (RTC), he has had behavioral, discipline & truancy issues at the school) The PINS rep is working on formalizing the complaint so we will end up at Family Court to hash this out. The rep seems to feel that the courts will place him somewhere, perhaps a residential facility since he had done well at one before.

    difficult child has no interests or hobbies. The only things he does is sleep, eat, watch TV, socialize with friends (preferably when we are not around). He is not productive and just simply exists. When asked about his interests- he has a canned answer just so that you will leave him alone, but he has never really pursued these supposed interests. He was presented an opportunity to work in an auto body shop, but it became too far away- boring- they never let him do anything interesting- they don't pay enough. He is just not interested in working or earning money. Don't get me wrong, of course he WANTS money, but not to EARN it. We live close to many opportunities, but he fails to take advantage of them. difficult child does not do chores or help out around the house, unless we ask, then remind, remind, remind him. He shows no initiative, even when things are really obvious -like adding more dirty dishes to a sink that is already full.

    There are trust issues in the house. He is manipulative and deceitful. He will steal (money, alcohol, probably cigarettes if we smoked) not only from us, but from his grandparents and lord knows who else. He lacks self control for sure. He lies way too easily. He has a lack of empathy, morals and values, but is more concerned about how to get what he wants/needs NOW. He does not consider the consequences and generally does not seem to care. He is unconcerned about punishment and removal of privileges. (That includes suspension/detention in school) He is very smart and can really apply himself to manipulate a situation, but never towards something constructive. He does not accept responsibility for things/events, yet wants more privileges.

    I have tried to speak to him many times about different things, important things. I don't think he listens (absorbs and processes the information) or cares, but is only concerned about getting away from us to go do something more "worthwhile".

    I have seen from posts that these characteristics are not uncommon for ADD teens, but is there a point where the light will go 'on' in his head and he will realize that he needs to do things for himself. I understand that his brain is wired differently, but we have concerns about if he will ever become self sufficient. husband is really frustrated with him and is ready to give him the boot come his 18th birthday.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    While others have more experience with teens this age, I have a few questions that may help us help you:
    Did the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) suggest a diagnosis beyond ADD?
    Has your difficult child ever undergone any educational, psychological or neuropsychological testing?
    Is he taking any medications? If so, what?
    Does he have friends he does things with or is he a loner?
    Has he been drug tested while at home?
    Is he in therapy?

    Again, welcome. Weekends can be a little on the slow side, but others will be along to share their experiences with you.
  3. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    I just wanted to welcome you!!!! I don't have experience with the older kiddies yet, but many others here do!!!!!!! Again, have found a wonderful place!
  4. lambsear2

    lambsear2 New Member

    You folks are fast.... thanks for taking the time to read, I can be long winded at times. Sometimes things seem way too complicated to explain in short sentences.

    Did the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) suggest a diagnosis beyond ADD? The family courts did a psychiatric. evaluation before sending difficult child to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The ADD/ODD was established prior to that. They did add a component of CD (conduct disorder) to his findings.

    Has your difficult child ever undergone any educational, psychological or neuropsychological testing? He was thoroughly tested in 5th grade. It was then that the ADD/ODD was diagnosed. The recent IQ test showed that he is where he should be for his age.

    Is he taking any medications? If so, what? He has been on medications in the past, but Residential Treatment Center (RTC) took him off them. Mostly his issues pertain to decision making/coping skills & anger management. difficult child said that the medications did not help him.

    Does he have friends he does things with or is he a loner? He has many friends. This is where he runs amok, he can be easily instigated. Socially, he does well, his teachers like him and he has never had a shortage of friends. The only problem we see is the type of kid he likes to hang out with- they are not always the best influence.

    Has he been drug tested while at home? You betch'a. He has smoked pot before and we know that he drinks occasionally.

    Is he in therapy? We have been doing therapy since 5th grade. He is a great manipulator and the therapy has never been very helpful. (except at Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) husband is opposed to doing therapy because he does not feel that it is beneficial (was never helpful before). difficult child does see the school Phych. every week and also does get alot of support from the Spec. Ed teacher. Generally difficult child does not think that there is anything wrong with him. I have tried to speak to him about the affects of ADD/ODD and have given him info on this. I don't think he is mature enough to be really self aware and absorb this information.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    I'm also wondering why he was never evaluated by a neuropsychologist or why he's not in therapy. It may not have helped him before, but I question giving up completely when the child is so "out of it." In my layman's opinion there is probably something else going on besides what has been diagnosed. Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of the family tree? Substance abuse, including bio. mom?
    This is my take on it. If he is THAT apathetic all the time about EVERYTHING, my guess is that he is probably using drugs, a lot more than pot, or else he is high on pot every day. He could also be using downers that may not show up on drug tests or even over the counter medications. My daughter was a drug user. Although she always worked, and even went to tech school while using drugs (amazing, huh?) she was confrontational, sneaky, a thief and could stare me in the eyes and lie without flinching. These are characteristics of drug users. Also, parents rarely know the extent of a teen's drug use. We thought she was only using pot sometimes. We found out after she'd quit, that she had used everything and had gone so far as to shoot up heroin twice. To say she fooled us is an understatement. Part of that is she would normally get high at night after we were asleep and would just be "coming down" during the day, thus her "I-don't-give-a-darn" attitude.
    My daughter has informed me that crushing ADHD drugs in a pillcrusher is VERY common...then the kids snort them, either alone or with cocaine-like drugs. Then they need downers to get some sleep. We did make her leave at 18, and she turned it around.
    If I were you, I wouldn't give him a dime. Regardless of what may be wrong with him or what he may or may not be using, if he has no money, he'll HAVE to get a job. I wouldn't pay for car insurance either. My daughter paid for her own car insurance. In the end, I truly believe that it was my daughter's work ethic that got her clean. She did get a job after we threw her out, but that wasn't new to her--she'd always worked. She lost her allowance when she started smoking cigarettes--we decided not to fund such a bad habit. At that time, we still didn't know of her drug use, but then she got busted. She did graduate Cosmetology School (drugs and all) and she decided she was "tired of myself." So she got clean.
    Kids who use drugs usually say "I smoke pot" or "I smoke pot sometimes" but that is rarely the whole story.
    I would also question his diagnoses although, if he is non-compliant with therapy, he is unlikely to change much. Did he ever have any early developmental issues? Speech problems? Early peer problems? Are there any mood disorders he could have inherited?
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome.
    I agree, that there is probaby something else going on if he is that lacking in motivation. Maybe he's suffering from depression, or doing more pot than you think.
    If he's very social and is into music, etc. he may want to get a job at the mall at a music store or one of the teen clothing stores. He'd get a discount and it's not terribly hard work. Just a thought.
    I agree that he's old enough to work and he needs to make his own money. I would also push that aspect because it will give him something constructive to do rather than hang out with-undesirable people.
  7. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Welcome. It sounds like your life mirrors mine. Your difficult child sounds like mine at 17 except add pot-addicted to the recipe. I wish I knew the answers. I'm still searching. Here you will find a sympathetic ear and people who understand.
  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Lambsear and welcome!!!

    Honestly, for a second there, I thought my son had moved in with you!! Not motivated at all though he has grand future plans. When I explain to him that he cannot possibly graduate HS (one of his plans) if he doesn't actually *attend* school, I'm just being a (insert curse word of the day).

    To be honest, I have to agree with your husband. 18 and out. Just based on my own incredibly frustrating experience with my son (who knows everything and refuses to accept that he has a very serious mental illness that really distorts his thinking) there is no way to *make* a 17-year-old do a doggone thing. In IL, school isn't compulsory at age 17 so we can't even force that issue anymore - other than working with SD on when they will actually drop him from the rolls. For my son, when he is out of HS, he loses funding for treatment and someplace to live (return home is out of the question due to violence). He's impressively unconcerned.

    Gosh - I've retyped this about a gazillion times because I'm not seeing anything hopeful in here. I guess our hope is that reality will break through to our son when he has to do it on his own and that then he will more willing to participate in treatment.

    We see that our kids have the potential to be productive independent adults but we're also stymied by their defiance and refusal to participate - in school, in treatment, in their own lives. I may just be running on empty at this stage in my son's life (so maybe you should ignore me ;) ) but I honestly don't know how we can do anything meaningful to get our almost "adult" boys on a better track.

    Anyway - I'm so glad you found us. We have a wide variety of experiences and opinions here - hopefully you will find something you can use! :)
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You have gotten some good advice.

    Since he's already 17 and you have so little time to make a difference until he's an adult, as a last ditch effort I'd recommend thorough evaluations with both a child/adolescent psychiatrist (one who specialized in adolescent boys might be particularly helpful and a neuropsychologist. I'm not sure the diagnosis has been nailed. Lack of motivation and making no effort (plus all the rest you listed) can be symptoms of lots of disorders, including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder as well as drug/alcohol addiction. The treatment is different for each condition; to my way of thinking, it's important to know what you're really dealing with so you can put the proper interventions into place, at least while you still have some control.
  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Just stopping by to say hi and welcome. :salute:
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Also stopping in to say welcome.

    As you see, you are in very good company :)
  12. mama2lexxie

    mama2lexxie New Member