New here and in need of some support/ideas

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by welcometowitsend, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I found this great site (although it's unfortunate that any of us need to be here) a couple of days ago and have been reading many posts. It is comforting to know we are not alone in our struggles.

    Let me give you some background on us.....
    husband and I run our own business and have for the past 17 years. Happily married, great relationship.

    Our daughter (13) is obedient, works hard, respects us and is a delight to be around. She has learning disabilities (she was 2 months premature) but perseveres and works through things. She is now in school as well.

    Our son (16) was diagnosed with Tourette's and ADD when he was 9 years old. I worked very closely with him, home schooled both him and his sister, and taught him many strategies to overcome tics, transition issues and attention issues. We made great progress. His Tourette's seems to be in remission and he doesn't need any accommodations at school.

    His father and I thought it would be good for him to start attending school in grade 9 so he made the transition to school last year and did very well. Good grade, good friends, good focus - his teachers LOVED him. This year he is still doing pretty good in school for most subjects except he almost failed math last semester (didn't ask for help until 2 weeks before the exam) and kept me in the dark about it. And he is struggling (i.e. not doing homework/studying) through science this semester. His other subjects are easy (guitar, drama, english). No detentions, no phone calls home, no problems at school.

    He doesn't skip class because he doesn't want to get kicked out of the arts program. Thank goodness for small mercies!

    Just before Christmas he developed a new group of friends and things have gone downhill in a big hurry. He has a new girlfriend within this group as well. We had to take his cell phone away from him a couple of months ago for running up his bills viewing porn/sex videos. Now he uses that as an excuse to not get in touch with us when he is out with friends. A couple of weeks ago he came home 1.5 hours late on a school night -no phone call, nothing. He could have used his girlfriends phone, a nearby pay phone (and I have shown him where it is) or a friends phone - lies (everyone's phone was dead, no one had a quarter - he had money in his wallet) and excuses abounded. When I told him he was grounded for that and for being so rude and disrespectful to me he flipped. His dad wasn't home and DS told me that he was going to do what he wanted and was I going to make him use his size to do it? (he's 5'11", 170lb I'm 5'2 and we won't talk about my weight :) ). Anyway, I let it go for that evening because it was getting out of hand and when we tried to talk to him about it the next day he informed us we were abusive parents because we argue with him and that he was ready to leave. husband didn't want him to leave so we compromised and wiped the slate clean to try and start fresh - mistake!!

    A week went by of him not following some rules - but they were small ones so we let it go. Things went pretty smoothly because we weren't bugging him, I guess.

    Then on Monday I discovered some very crude and profane comments as well as morally corrupt photos etc. on his Facebook. After school I approached him to talk to him about it and tell him that I wanted him to clean up his language and remove the nasty stuff from his FB. He thought it was funny - and I mean this stuff is nasty. Despite trying to explain that this stuff is around forever, your grandmother and sister see this, potential employers can see this - he thought it was funny and pretty much laughed in my face. Things got a little heated so we separated to cool off for a while. Then we talked again and I thought I'd gotten through to him. I told him that I was going to take his FB away for that night and that I'd change his password back the next day. He went nuts. Screaming, swearing, spewing jaw-dropping profanities at husband and I. husband was worried about me so asked me to leave the room - I suggested we both leave the room and we did. Well DS followed us and got right in my face screaming at me and ordering me to give him the internet and FB passwords. I just calmly said no and repeatedly asked him to calm down, leave the room, go cool off. husband told him to get out of my face and he promptly told husband to shut the **#$ up. After a few minutes of this husband decided it was getting out of hand and took DS by the shirt and pushed him away from me (restrained him because he was escalating). DS started swinging and trying to punch husband. After restraining him for a few minutes we let him up and told him to go to his room - well he did, and came down with a baseball bat!! Threatened us with the baseball bat and then went back upstairs to pack his things.

    husband and I thought we'd better call the police. When the police showed up DS tried to get husband arrested for 'assault' and the police told him that husband was within his rights to protect me from my son and to restrain him if necessary. That ticked DS off because I think he wants husband out of the house. We didn't tell the police about the baseball bat (maybe we should have). Anyway, DS has left and is now staying at his girlfriends house. When DS left he told me that he never wanted to be around husband again and that he was okay with me but he wouldn't come home if husband was there. Problem is I'm not sure I want to be around DS without husband there to protect me.

    We did have him drug tested but I can't get the results without DS's consent. Once they hit the age of 12 kids are allowed to make their own medical decisions here. And once they hit 16 they can leave home and don't have to inform us of where they are living.

    I'm not sure if/how we could transition him back into the house after this. How do his sister and I be alone in the house with him if Dad is at work? My husband's line of work is day to day and sometimes hour to hour - never knows where he will be or when he will be home and we can't change this. What kind of rules do we lay down and what do I do if he refuses to follow them?

    These were our rules before:
    1) Be respectful to other people in the house.
    2) Get yourself up for school in the morning, don't miss the bus and focus on your schoolwork in order to get the best grades you can.
    3) Get permission to go out beforehand and come home at the agreed upon time. If you're going to be more than 1/2 hr late let us know so we don't worry.
    4) When you're 16 you can start doing your own laundry and make your own school lunch.
    5) Don't eat in your room.
    6) No drugs, alcohol or smoking or stealing.
    7) Mom has passwords for email and Facebook (random checks will be done - the more you prove yourself trustworthy the more freedom you will get).

    Thanks so much if you have read this far! Any feedback or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hello and welcome. First let me say, I have a child who can be aggressive so nothing I am going to say means I dont understand your wanting to give him a break, solve the issues, etc. I too am struggling more at this age I feel in huge part because puberty hit. Your son's behavior is very suspicious of drug use. Have you searched his room and every kind of hiding place (Lots of parents here can clue you in to that) where he might be hiding things? I think you are absolutely right to stop FB but not temporarily, permanently. He has no clue how destructive that can be.

    When was the last time your son was evaluated? Does he take medications? It could be that with growth, hormones etc....additional diagnosis and medication changes are going to be necessary. He probably needs some anger management or counseling of some form if it is not drugs because that is way over the top for a child who had not previously had that issue. Something has happened.

    I think your rules are very very good.

    Anyway, my first thought when I read your post was...are you kidding me??? TWELVE??? HOlyl cow! In our state only mental health treatment can be refused. Oh my word. What would happen to you if you refused to care for him? I suppose he has all the power. And he can leave the home at 16? those have to be the earliest ages I have heard here, I mean, I knew that there were different laws in different states but 12 is clearly still WAY to young to make appropriate decisions. And how the heck can the law demand we care for our children but they have the right to live where-ever etc. ??? What ARE your rights with his leaving. Can you refuse to let him come home? Do you still have to cover him on your insurance? Are you nervous about the girlfriend's home? I would never let a boyfriend or girl friend just come and live with my child without talking to the parents first. Unbelievable.

    I think he wants husband gone because he knows he can bully you. I am sorry to say that but yes, I do think you should have mentioned the bat. He went to get it as a weapon. My son has used things like that to hit (Not me but like hit a chair etc) but it was when he happened to have it in his hand, very impulsive, still NOT ok and he lost the items he used permanently. BUT it seems like your son premeditated that, went and got it and then came back at you, that is very scary.

    As I said, I live in a situation that I too have to take a hard look at things and so am in no way criticizing you. Just offering thoughts. I can really relate to having that level of in your face demanding and such inappropriate talk. You have the added porn and facebook/social challenges (my son is quite delayed so while thinks of girls etc. is not actually dating and not even able to really have a friend).

    I really have no parenting advice except support for your gut feelings. I dont have a child that functions that highly but I would say that the books we often use that do help include The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and it offers a different way to negotiate and enforce your rules. It might be worth a start because it really targets our kids who are wired differently.

    My thoughts and care is with you and I hope you chime in as often as you can. I imagine you have a lot of experience that will be helpful to others too! HUGS, dee
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Adding in my welcome! Glad you found our soft place to land but sorry you needed to. I'm sorry things are so rough right now. Does he see a therapist or a child psychiatrist? What do they have to say about all of this?

    I think you did absolutely the right thing by calling the police (I would probably have told them about the bat but hindsight is 20/20).

    Sending comforting hugs your way.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Adding another welcome and some rather sober but realistic advice. If he is on his own at sixteen, and allowed to be, there is nothing you can do about his behavior. You can not monitor his FB anymore (or he can start a new one). You can't make him share the same morals you raised him to have. You can not control is legally not possible. It is like an eighteen year old in the US. Your control of him and his behavior has ended. HOWEVER...

    You don't need to give him a dime or feed him. If he wants to live on his own, let him find a way to provide for himself. If his girlfriend's parents will do it for a while, you can't stop that, but my guess is that they will get tired of it or the two of them will break up. You do not have to ever allow him to come back home while he is violent. I would not even consider allowing him home unless he is willing to go into serious treatment with frequent, random drug testing. To be honest, if you are afraid of him, in my opinion he does not belong at home. What if he not only hurts you, but his sister? He needs more help than you can give him.

    My best guess is that he is using drugs and possibly using a lot of drugs. That's probably the #1 reason teens get violent almost overnight (plus changing friends is a red flag). I also know that kids with Tourettes are at higher risk for disorders like bipolar so that can't help either. can't help him if he won't let you.

    in my opinion try to detach from the situation and not control him so much. If he is crude, he is crude. It's his problem, not yours. You can't stop it. If he views porn, you can't stop that either at his age. I would seek out therapy for yourself to help you deal with his behavior and to learn how to be good to yourself. You also need to enjoy those who appreciate you...your wonderful husband and daughter. If he will not help himself, then you have to help yourself. You have given him all you could have, and if he doesn't want to respect you, you can not force him to. I've been there...many of us have.

    It is too bad that sixteen year olds are treated as adults so young in Canada. I think eighteen is too young sometimes here in the US.

    We are all happy you found us and I hope we can offer you some advice that hits home and can help you.
  5. lonelyroad

    lonelyroad New Member

    Sounds to me like you did everything right, welcome, I am new here also, with different problems but lots of empathy!!!
  6. Wipedout and lonelyroad - thank you so much for your kind welcome and support. It means a lot.

    Buddy and MidwestMom- Yes, it is true that they can make all their own medical decisions once they hit 12. It is completely ridiculous. I have a friend at church whose son started refusing schizophrenia medications and there was nothing they could do. Ugh!

    And he is legally allowed to move out and live on his own at 16. I can kick him out via Children's Aid before he is 18, but if he chooses to leave I am not financially responsible for him. Because we are Canadian he will have coverage to go to the doctor but not dental or prescriptions.

    I don't think I have to let him come back home and I certainly won't unless he is willing to agree to the rules and to accept consequences for breaking them. That and of course there will be no violence or verbal abuse towards us. If he asks to come back home I want to have a meeting with him, husband, myself and maybe the girlfriends parents in a public place - I think it's less likely he'll act out there and in front of them. Funny, they think he is a great kid - and I know he can be. Part of the deal will be therapy and random drug testing - it has to be.

    We will have to discuss how it is going to be and he must agree to it before he can come home. And husband doesn't want him in the house alone with daughter or myself - not sure how that will work out. He definitely won't be allowed in the house with daughter alone - that is for sure. She is so much smaller than him and unable to defend herself.

    Oh, to answer some of the questions - he has never been on medications or had a therapist for the Tourette's or ADHD - they were both pretty mild and the Tourette's is in remission right now and has been for a few years - I worried it would get worse when puberty hit but it got a lot better. When he was very young he had some issues with transitioning so we worked through them with deep breathing exercises as well as giving him advance notice that a transition was going to happen. For example - DS, we will be going home in 30 minutes, if there is a game you want to play with your friend you should do it now before it is time to leave. DS, we will be leaving in 15 minutes.... DS, 5 more minutes buddy! That solved the problem and eventually we didn't have to do it anymore.

    Thankfully the police had Victims Services call us and see how we are doing. They gave me their number if I have any more questions or need someone to talk to and the number for a very good local support group for parents. I'm going to call on Monday and find out when they meet next - it will be helpful to have a local support group so I can get a feel for what is going on in this area. I know there is a tent city nearby - just don't know where and if he gets kicked out of girlfriends he might end up there.

    Thank you again!!

    Oh, and thank you for the book recommendation!! I will definitely be buying that book this weekend.
  7. Giulia

    Giulia New Member

    Welcome here, and sorry you found us.

    What I could read from what you say is that it seems a lot to self medicate for his ADHD and Tourettes. I understand that his Tourettes has regressed a lot, but he feels the need to medicate his symptoms (for both ADHD and Tourettes).

    You did right to post these rules, I can only agree with them.

    The only thing I would add in the rules you set is that he has to agree is seeking medical care for himself. Otherwise, he cannot be back home.
    If he accepts all the other rules but no medical care, he cannot come back home.
    If he does not treat himself for his issues, he won't be able to control his behavior and life at home will be impossible.
    It's the only detail I would quibble about.
  8. somerset

    somerset Member

    Does your son have long-standing issues with his father, or is that a result of the one incident?
  9. Giulia - Thank you for your supportive words. I did write him a letter and added in the need for counselling. Individual and family counselling.

    Somerset - There have not been longstanding issues with his dad. They have never had a lot in common and it was always me that had the stronger relationship with my son. But there were never big conflicts with his Dad.

    In hindsight there was some underlying things. DS has always been difficult to please, it seemed nothing was ever enough - not that he would complain he just wouldn't seem happy or excited, you know? Not sure if that's the Tourette's or what. I think he has this idea of what the perfect life is and nothing has measured up - because it can't. I think he wants that tv sitcom life.

    I'm going to start another post with an update - and unfortunately, it's not a good one. Thank you for your support! It means a lot to me. It seems I'm barely holding it together right now.