New here and totally lost!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by cmfout, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    I'm brand new here so first a bit of history. When my son was 7 I found out that his father had been physically abusing both of my sons (7 and 12 at the time) and removed him from our home. The state's way of "helping" was to remove both of my children from my home and place them with my brother, who has had custody of my now 14 year old since then. Jacob (my son) returned home to me 8 months ago. During the time he was with my brother we were in regular contact through phone and email, and he spent his summers with me. He has no contact with his father at all.
    When he first came home he was an amazing kid. Happy to be back with his mom, happy to be around extended family, well behaved and respectful for the most part. Now, things have changed.
    In the past 2 or 3 months Jacob has become angry and very defiant. He has been diagnosed with ODD but refuses counseling and/or medications. Instead, he's smoking pot and drinking with his friends.
    He's been in a bit of trouble with the police. We're waiting for a summons from the prosecutors office to find out what will happen with that. It was nothing overly serious, he simply went into a closed park after hours and got caught, but I'm hopeful it will give me the opportunity to get some court ordered help with him.
    I've tried restricting who he's with, where he goes, and when he can go - but that backfired. He sneaks out or becomes physically abusive to get out the door. He's bigger and stronger than I am, so I have no means of forcing him to stay here.
    He had a couple of airsoft guns that he was taking into town with him. He removed the orange tips from them and would act as though they were real guns. I was worried about him getting hurt (or killed!) by someone thinking they were real, so the guns were taken away and moved to another property - they're no longer in my home. Now, one of his friends who's a "good" kid has told me Jacob has another one that looks very real that he's keeping somewhere else so I can't take it.
    He's rude, disrespectful, and I'm so worried that it's keeping me up at night. ANY help, advice, suggestions - anything at all would be very appreciated. I'm at a loss and I really don't know what to do or where to turn.
  2. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    First, welcome. You will find a LOT of kindred spirits here. You have your hands full, as did I when my daughter was that age. I wish I could say I had an answer for you. I don't. Mine is now 17 and living on her own. I just wanted to say welcome and you are not alone!!
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Welcome. I don't have any answers but I have a little hindsight. My son is 19 and is currently in rehab. Some things are coming out in therapy around some things he feels some shame around and some very difficult events which happened when he was around 12. They feel his drug use was really about covering up his pain. I wish I had been more clued in when he was younger and brought some of this stuff out. Now the fact is that he did have a good therapist at that point but some stuff he never shared there.

    So your son has been through some trauma, given the abuse by your ex. It sounds like he has not processed all that and may have some very painful feelings... not uncommon for a kid in that situation to feel that somehow they deserved it etc. So I think you need to somehow get him into therapy. You need to find a really good therapist that works with adolescents and you need to tell the therapist up front about the past abuse so they are clued in. If the therapist is a good one then they will find a way to engage with your son so that he will hopefully be willing to go back..

    So the key is once you find a good therapist how can you get him to go. This might be a case where bribery is appropriate. Or as some kind of consequence. I don't know. Some how think of something that will motivate your son.

    The drug use is worrisome and will probably just get worse unless you get the core issue dealt with.

    I totally feel for you.... we have been down that path and are just further down it than you are. If you can address all this now it may save you some pain and worry later on.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Welcome! I am glad you found us - though sorry it was necessary.

    I'm a stepmom of a 15-y/o who was abused by mommy's (then) boyfriend. We've been down the gamut of oppositional behavior, drug use, violence and what have you. Right now she's being an angel, but let me tell you - I had no real idea what I was signing up for!

    If he becomes violent with you - call the police. I know it really hurts when you have to think about your child being in the system, in juvie, with a record. But YOU do NOT deserve that!

    One thing I have learned, and am still struggling with, is consistency. There must be consequences for actions. A lot of people here will tell you - natural consequences are the best. He sneaks out? He's stuck outside - 'cause you've locked the doors. It's H.A.R.D. to do. My biggest thing? Was Onyxx, stealing. I finally laid down the law. I won't deal with theft or lying. And she spent 7 months sans cell phone due to her behavior.

    She's been in counseling, and recently court-ordered anger management. I really think it's made a difference. But you know what else? I really do think the cutting, the self-mutilation, the drugs - were a way to be in control of her pain. She's had no control over her life until recently, and when she and her brother first moved in with us, husband was a Disneyland Dad, trying to make up for all the garbage. No rules = BAD. Then mom's dude started in, and things got TERRIBLE. Even 2 years after the abuse stopped - because Onyxx refuses to visit at all - stuff comes back to her. The only difference now, as opposed to, say, a year ago, is that when she has a flashback, she'll get me or husband - and we talk about it. I don't want to know the details I know, but if it helps my kid - I will listen. I will give her my thoughts if asked. And I'll make her a cup of tea and we'll just sit. (This was not possible even 6 months ago. I was afraid of her.)

    I can't give you any easy answers, but as for the pot smoking? Kids will admit to that - but rarely anything stronger. Pharmacies sell OTC drug tests - you may want to consider one.

    You may have to just lay down the law to him - he is still young enough for you to MAKE him get help - if he won't go to counseling, you might have to consider an Residential Treatment Center (RTC).


    Hugs. And welcome to our world!
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    Yes, you do. The moment he becomes physical - you call the police. The moment he leaves home without your permission - call the police.

    This accomplishes several things: First, it shows your child that you will NOT tolerate abusive behavior. Second, it creates a "paper trail" which can be a tool to help get your family the services you need. Third, you want to make sure that you "CYA" - anything he is doing which requires a real-looking gun is probably NOT legal....make sure you are reporting everything you know and that law enforcement is aware that you are trying to prevent these actions/activities.

    Good luck!
  6. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member


    I don't have any advice to add. Wish I did. Just wanted to offer my support and to let you know that we are here. Post everyday if you need to. The support you get here will help give you strength to face the future. You are not alone in your struggles.
  7. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    Thank you all for the replies, support, suggestions :)
    I've tried working with the local police but unfortunately the "youth officer" in our town is an abusive jerk himself. On all 3 occasions that I've called for help, they've sent him and refuse to send anyone else. On al 3 occasions I've had to make formal reports against him for his actions.

    Instead of helping in any way, he tries to bully ME and physically push me off to the side, he's rubbed his arm over my breasts, and held my front door closed to refuse my oldest son entrance into my home - and threatened to arrest him for coming in a window to make sure I was safe. We live in a very small town. There are 4 police officers. He's the one that handles kids. I've called the county sherrifs office to ask for help but haven't received a call back yet.

    I've found, by searching online and the phone books and lots of calls yesterday, that there's a counseling service a couple of towns over that will send someone to our home for Jake. I'm trying to set that up. I know he's got a lot to deal with in his head, and a lot of anger towards me for "letting" it happen. Maybe having someone come here will be less threatening towards him.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just want you to know that I read your posts. I'm sending understanding hugs your way. Those of us who live in small towns have special police problems that others don't understand. Do you, by chance, have a friend or neighbor who would come to your home when/if you have to call the police again. A witness might improve the behavior by law enforcement and if not you would have a disinterested party to attest to the inappropriate behaviors. DDD
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Wow. My kneejerk reaction to your first post was buy a taser and one of those kidtracker GPS devices that alerts the police if it's removed incorrectly. Okay, maybe not the best ideas.
    I'm sorry your local law enforcement is so little help, our force is a little bit bigger and half of them are trained for things like that and the chief wants everyone trained on it soon. I know some of the parents here have had to get creative with ways to keep windows/doors from being opened when they shouldn't be (or not opened far enough for escape).
    If you think you might need to video his behavior to support yourself in the event you need to call the police on him or get other support for him, there are lots of good, small, easily hidden cameras available these days (which should obviously stay in more public areas of the house and all that). Ones with a view of his escape routes might not be bad either.
    Don't have much in the way of advice for you, but you've found a great place for support here. Take care of you so you can help him take care of these problems.
  10. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    DDD, thank you for understanding how it can be with the police in tiny little towns. After Jacob went into the park after closing they targeted the family. I've been pulled over twice, my elderly father has been pulled over, my disabled brother has been stopped and questioned because he legally carries a weapon. It's a nightmare having them involved, and the so-called youth officer is the worst of them. Unfortunately the police just aren't an option here. They make things worse instead of trying to help.

    We've had a good day today, actually. He went into town with me and kept his attitude in check. That's better than I can usually count on. We had a meltdown on the way home, but I expected that since I didn't buy anything for him.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oooh that is horrible what you are dealing with, with the police. It made me realize how lucky we are with our small town police force. We have had very good experiences with our local pd.... they have been helpful when they have come to the house and they were great when I went there and asked them to come a couple of hours later to help us get him out of the house. I am less enthusiastic about the PDs at two adjoining towns where he is well known and gotten in a heap of trouble. I think at this point they have it out for him BUT I also can't really blame them as he made himself well known. Anyway all that is besides the point. It is just a shame you can't go to your local pd for help. And the youth officer sounds disgusting.... you would think someone higher up would take notice of that behavior.... you can't be the first one who has complained.

    I think the idea of getting in home therapy is a very good one. I hope they are good and help engage him.
  12. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi and welcome, and glad you found us, although sorry you had to. You have your hands full, and probably several aspects of the situation would be addressed by a family
    counselor or family agency. The first one, though, is your safety and your difficult child's safety. I understand the very-small-town police issue, although yours sounds extremely bad by
    any measure. I'm wondering if there are state troopers anywhere near your town. We have a very small town municipal force but also State Police, and if you have any access
    to them, they tend to be higher on the police ladder than municipals. They may not be warm and fuzzy but around here they're all business, no funny stuff. The situation with
    your 'youth officer' sounds egregiously bad - bad enough to consider looking into charges against him, which might have to be brought by a higher level of police ... ? I agree with
    the suggestion of, at the least, having an independent witness present if/when you have to call police. Maybe two or three, if possible!

    You need to be safe from physical violence in your home. Beyond suggesting state police I don't know where else to go with that, but if all else failed, would you consider moving?
    Sometimes, in a very small town, removing a young kid from bad influences can give you a little control over the situation. It doesn't solve it - difficult children will find other difficult children wherever
    they go - but it puts him off balance temporarily and in a new place, chosen for its good law enforcement AND social services, maybe you could get some needed assistance lined
    up. I know it's probably not possible with the economy and job market - it's a long shot - but I would consider it if the circumstances made it possible.

    In the meantime, I agree with video, with two-way deadbolts and window locks, with confiscation of everything - everything - he has when he becomes abusive. You only have to provide
    him with basic shelter, food, and a minimum of clothing (appropriate for weather, of course). You don't owe him computers, music, internet, cell phones, transport for entertainment, etc.
    At times with our difficult child, who was very violent and out of control for a long time, he had a mattress, sheet and blanket and pillow, a lightbulb screwed into the ceiling, and basic clothes.
    That's it. We removed his door because he would try to break it (or would break it). We removed his light fixture because he broke it. Etc. Etc. Eventually he figured it wasn't fun living like
    that and settled. Things weren't perfect, but certain behaviors were controlled. When they surfaced again he lost everything again, until he knew we weren't just talking. Talking doesn't
    work well with angry teens. I know your difficult child has suffered abuse and does need therapy, which I highly recommend, but that's not what I mean. When he crosses the line, he knows it. He
    expects you to talk at him and he plans not to listen. You can say something, once - but you need to act, i.e. to put consequences in place immediately, without long discussion. Just do it.
    You can give a two-sentence explanation: When you do X, you will lose Y. I will decide when you will get Y back, based on your behavior. Then disengage. Expect resistance, rage, etc.
    You have to be rested and ready for something like this, and if you have a friend to support you (not be directly involved), it can help. It also helps to work with a family therapist to make
    rules and consequences and enact them, and then review with the therapist. If there's any chance of that, I would get that going first. If your difficult child won't go, go by yourself. A good therapist
    is extremely helpful.

    Others will have excellent suggestions; just remember that you deserve to be safe, and your difficult child needs to learn that antisocial actions have severe consequences, before he ends up in jail or
    worse. You're in a really tough situation; I feel for you. I hope you can figure out some way to reach better law enforcement, and a way to contact a family therapist. Take care.
  13. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    How do you deal with full out anger in public places? My son and I went to town today for some holiday shopping. We went into a sporting goods store and he wanted me to buy him a new airsoft gun. With the problems we've had with them there is NO WAY I'm getting him another. I told him no and he blew up. Totally out of control, knocking things off shelves, yelling, and name calling. He stormed out of the store and I ended up having mall security help me find him. He kept yelling for the entire 30 mile ride home.
    I felt lost. Not so much embarrassed as worried when he took off.
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    The only working solution I've found is to do my shopping alone. :(
  15. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    I wish I had that option. There are no adults willing to stay with him for more than an hour or so and he can't be left home alone. Either he goes with me or I can't go. I'm happy that he's home but darn my life sure turned around in a hurry!
  16. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    For me, this would mean no more enjoyable outings for difficult child. I would do my shopping when he's at school and take him absolutely nowhere. Again, a one or two-sentence
    explanation: When you go berserk in the mall and run off, it means you don't go out with me. When I am satisfied that you are prepared to be good company on an outing,
    you will go out again. No discussion, explanations, justifications, or being side-tracked into defending yourself or the way you dealt with his sibs. Just the action, the
    consequence for his action. Another time, if he runs off, I would consider calling police, going home, and waiting for them to bring him home. He's sure you're going to look for him. Surprise him.

    The first time I really surprised my difficult child 1, it had a major effect. We were on our way home from a therapist appointment in connection with his outpatient rehab; he had been
    'called' on numerous lies he'd told the therapists. He was fuming, and on the way home in the car he began yelling and pounding the dashboard and car window, and swearing.
    Then he called me a really bad name. I abruptly pulled over to the shoulder, stopped the car, and told him to get out. He was speechless. I told him again, just - Get Out. He
    stared at me, got out, slammed the door hard enough to shake the car, and stood there. I drove off and went home. I'm sure he stood there for some time, expecting me to come
    back and pick him up. He walked home and arrived a while later, came in silently, and went to his room. He then left again, going out for a walk. I was prepared for pretty much anything - for him to call
    his drug buddies and stay away, or whatever. Instead he walked around a big farmer's field for about an hour (we live in a rural valley and I could actually see him :p) and then came
    back. He didn't swear at me or call me names again.

    I think it was the action that made the difference. I'd told him over and over not to speak to me in that way, not to pound things, etc. etc. It was only when I did something decisive that he
    took notice.

    So ... at the very least, no more cosy shopping outings. No visits to stores he likes. And I'd consider removing something he really cares about, whether his computer, or his cell phone, etc.
    When he demands it back, you look him in the eye and tell him IF it ever comes back, he'll have to earn it. Then disengage. Never stay involved in a long shouting match, never explain.
    That's how he derails you.

    I realize he may become violent, depending on what's going on with him. Your situation with the police is such a problem here. I can only reiterate - try to contact the next level up of law
    enforcement. If they ask why you're not using the municipals, tell them exactly why, with names and dates. And tell them you're requesting their help specifically.

    Your son may not become violent, though - he may be so caught off guard by you changing the 'rules', the patterns by which you both interact, that he may have to go off and process it,
    like my son did. If he leaves the house, you can call police and report him a runaway. Get a paper trail started and the therapist you're hopefully going to find can tell him where that leads.
    I'm sorry - public scenes are tough. But you can call him on it. Best of luck.
  17. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Oops - I guess our messages crossed. Is he not in school?
  18. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    Thanks for the advice Katya. I had a long phone conversation with someone at the county sheriffs office today and they're willing to help. We live on the edge of town so they have some power here. I'm thankful for that!
    He doesn't attend regular school but does an online program instead. The public school simply didn't work for him. He's getting decent grades now but did terrible in a classroom setting.
    I think I'll take your advice the next time and simply leave and wait for him at home. With the county police being willing to help, the distance shouldn't matter too much. I'm sure I could arrange for the police in that city to turn him over to county.
  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Because I only work part time I get a small amount of time to go to the store before I pick her up from school. Rushed somewhat, but more quiet. She has had her share of tantrums in the truck, and when I know she's going to be nasty I put the child locks on the rear doors so she can't open them; if she unbuckles I pull over; if she starts yelling I remind her one notch at a time that the radio is louder - doesn't take moving the volume up much to stop the yelling since she can't stand loud noise.
    Getting her out of the store can be another matter entirely. When she's with me, I try to avoid the toy section and if possible, electronics, too (video games).
  20. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Is there anything in the way of Wrap-Around family services where you are? If you approached your county family services unit, I think you would qualify. It would
    also be a way to access family counseling and other services. We had Wrap-Around for awhile, when difficult child 1 was very out of control. I wasn't allowed to go shopping
    and leave the TSS with difficult child 1 alone, but rules vary in different places. Sometimes people can get a TSS to work with their child or just be present, and allow the
    parent to go and do necessary errands. You need some way to go out by yourself. What if you have to see your doctor, or something else your son shouldn't be
    along for?

    It would be worth looking and trying to access this sort of help, especially as a single parent. You have no backup and you need some. If that came through for you,
    at least you could shop in peace. And your son, if he acted up around the TSS/respite person, would leave more of a paper trail and access more services.

    I'm very glad you were able to contact the county police and get some support! Good work! Now you will have some confidence in laying down some boundaries
    and enforcing them. Thank goodness!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010