New Member
Hello. I'm new here. I landed at this forum after doing a google search that went something like this: “How can I survive raising a defiant, explosive, drug abusing, out-of-control teenage boy?” Thankfully, the Google search hit someone’s forum post and here I am. I have spent the last several days poring through forum posts both old and new, and I cannot express the overwhelming sense of relief at finally finding other people in the world who understand what I’m going through. I know I don’t need to rehash it all for you…it seems that many of you have been there: Social isolation during the toddler years when you are kicked out of every daycare and Sunday School class in town; daily phone calls, emails, conferences with elementary teachers and principals because your child is the most disruptive force in the room; escalating disciplinary referrals, ISS, OSS during middle school; the destruction of entire walls and other objects in your home; the (seemingly) inevitable foray into experimenting with pot/alcohol, and the escalation into the full-blown abuse of God-knows-what (more commonly known as “Whatever You Can Get Your Hands On”). The missing valuables and truancy. The installation of deadbolts on your bedroom, the removal of the locks on every other door in the house, or even the doors themselves, the continuing social isolation because, really, how do you including wording on your dinner party invitations that goes “Please leave all valuables at home. If you find it necessary to carry a purse, please lock it in the trunk of your car. Your cell phones and car keys must remain on your person at all times. Your coat, if you choose to wear it into the house, must have empty pockets, and will be locked in a safe room for the duration of your visit.”? And finally, the phone call that your child has been arrested and is in custody for (insert offense here)…in my case, shoplifting a few times, possession a couple of times, and curfew violation during a runaway attempt that lasted just about 48 hours. And the overwhelming knowledge that the “professionals” have so far not been able to help you out.

So here is where we are now: My son (difficult child) will be 17 in a few months. He was court-ordered, among other things, to have a substance abuse evaluation (on the way there he told me not to worry. There would only be one visit because he knew what to say to make sure they didn’t think he had a problem. Obviously, we’ve been to many, many therapists over the years). Since this was court-ordered and our insurance doesn’t cover mental health or substance abuse treatment, I decided the local county mental health clinic would suffice and we went there. The social worker met with difficult child alone and then with me. Her first statement was “What a delightful, polite young man. I don’t understand why he is here. When I read his file, I expected an angry, defiant monster. But he is just delightful.” That’s when I made my snap decision to tell her she was way off base and had just been “played.” I filled her in on how delightful the boy really can be and the extent of substance abuse that is going on and she was just simply befuddled. After promising to contact me in 24 hours regarding her assessment results, I received the call 2 weeks later. She concurred with a diagnosis of ADHD and ODD as previously thought by the numerous other psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, sleep experts, and counselors we have seen. She was not recommending us for substance abuse counseling because they don’t offer that in our county, we’d have to travel to another county. And really, in her opinion, that program would be a recipe for disaster for difficult child because it’s a large group of teenagers that are court-ordered to participate and all they really do is make contacts and find places to buy urine for their tests. So she was referring us for family counseling because…..we have a lot of family issues. Really? You think? Someone would contact me within a few days to set up an appointment. That was 2 months ago. I’ve called, no return calls are made. We will be heading back in front of the judge soon for the numerous probation violations, and the probation officer is just appalled that I haven’t walked into the county mental health center and demanded that they get us scheduled for family counseling. More family counseling seems like a waste to me . He plays the counselor, then continues the same behaviors at home. Eventually he comes to the counseling sessions stoned and laughs his way through it (at $95/hour not covered by insurance, I’m not interested in doing that. I’d rather light the money on fire as an alternate heating source for the winter) The last counselor told us our son was not “buying into” the whole counseling scene and that we were just wasting our money. My husband and I have detached emotionally as much as possible (well, most of the time). Unfortunately, in our state there is no such thing as emancipation of a minor (unless the parents are incarcerated or dead…don’t think I haven’t been tempted to be either one), so we are legally, physically, and financially responsible for all acts committed by our minor child. If he commits a crime, we can, in fact, be charged with that same crime if it’s felt that we weren’t doing our part to prevent his committing it. We are responsible for all fiscal restitution to which a victim may be entitled. If he commits a crime and is waived into adult court, the good news is we can’t be charged with his crime, but we are still responsible for all victim restitution. But I’m really here because I’ve given up on the county mental health center and I’ve set up an appointment with a private practice psychologist who specializes in substance abuse issues so I won’t be out of compliance with the probation order. And I want to pose these questions to this group: [/FONT]

1. When we visit this psychologist, should I just keep my mouth shut and let difficult child play him and possibly accept the recommendation that no further counseling is necessary? Or should I enlighten the man and let it take whatever course it takes? Can counseling really help, especially if a person isn’t ready to change? Is substance abuse really the issue…or a symptom? How do you get to the “root” of ODD?[/FONT] Is family counseling really the answer?

2. How do you keep from having anxiety attacks about your younger child following the same path? And about the damage these behaviors have on younger child? This is what really keeps me awake at night now. Over the last several years, I’ve gone through a type of grieving process about difficult child, and only recently coming to an acceptance that we’ve have done about as much as we could do to give him a solid upbringing, providing all the tools and opportunities for a successful life as we could. All to no avail. Since I don’t know where we went wrong, we’re not doing anything differently with our younger child. In my head I know he’s a totally different person….but I can’t shake the belief that the environment we provided contributed to the older one’s issues in some way and that it will have the same effect on our younger son. I can’t quit obsessing about it.

3. How "detached" can you get from a minor child? And how do you put that into play?

I hope this doesn’t set a record as the longest post in history, but I’m just literally at the end of my skill sets here and I wanted some objective opinions. And I wanted to give as much information about our situation as possible so that hopefully someone who had been through similar circumstances could jump in. Thank you all…just for being here. I’m just so, so relieved.


New Member
LOL! The longest post, I think you did great. Welcome. I am so sorry you are going through this. Yes, you are right, so many here can relate to some or most of what you are saying. I am not in this situation but wanted to just say HI and please know that there will come a flood of people who have walked your walk. Some who have even walked his!

Just a question, so there is not any kind of chins or family in need of services thing you can do to force him to do more? Or is that also a waste of time at this point if he wont cooperate. Probably this is a question for other board members to respond to, because the reason I am asking is would that help protect you if a judge was trying to evaluate if you were or were not doing "enough" to prevent a crime.

Are you able to go to any counseling for yourself? Or groups? Just throwing stuff out there that I am sure you have done or thought of a million times, but was just wondering. I love your question about easy child. Is he (did i read that right, a he?) invloved in any programs that give him contact with other kinds of role models? sports, chess, art, drama, church, whatever? ???


[FONT=&amp]And about the damage these behaviors have on younger child? This is what really keeps me awake at night now. Over the last several years, I’ve gone through a type of grieving process about difficult child, and only recently coming to an acceptance that we’ve have done about as much as we could do to give him a solid upbringing, providing all the tools and opportunities for a successful life as we could. All to no avail. Since I don’t know where we went wrong, we’re not doing anything differently with our younger child. In my head I know he’s a totally different person….but I can’t shake the belief that the environment we provided contributed to the older one’s issues in some way and that it will have the same effect on our younger son. I can’t quit obsessing about it.[/FONT]

Welcome to the board. I don't have an answer regarding the drug issues, but I can tell you that I have had my own anxiety over the exact same thing with my younger easy child. I know that easy child is a completly different personality. Much more easy going. Most things seem to roll off his back. But that does not mean that he is not affected by difficult child's tirades and temper tantrums. Has your younger child ever epressed any anxiety or anger about the behavior of your difficult child? Is he afraid of difficult child? Would you be willing to take easy child to see a therapist? My kids are younger than yours (difficult child is 12 and easy child is 7) but over the summer I took easy child to therapy sessions with the therapist that I take difficult child to. It helped for easy child to be able to talk about how difficult child's actions make him feel and we worked really hard of building up easy child's confidence so that when difficult child started to bother him easy child had the tools to be able to tell him to leave him alone and to walk away.

The other thing that I wanted to add was that difficult child's problems are just that. HIS problems. For a very long time I blamed myself (and allowed others to blame me), and it took me a long time to realize that it's not me. And one of the ways that I know it's not me is because of easy child. If I really was that bad of a mother easy child would be the child that he is. Don't get me wrong. He's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he's no difficult child, so I know that somewhere along the line, I did something right with both of them. For some reason, difficult child's wiring is just different.


New Member
Hi, Buddy. Thank you for your response. I am not familiar with the term "chins", I assume it means child in need of services? (guessing based on the next part of your sentence). What kind of agency does that? What do they do? The only suggestion anyone ever gave us (besides more counseling, medications, etc) was filing for incorrigibility status. We didn't even have the chance to do that after we first heard about it before difficult child committed enough repeat offenses that the police filed for it. The juvenile justice system so far seems to be less than helpful.
Yes, our younger child is a boy. He plays football and wrestles and has been involved with the gifted/talented program and math bowl team at school. He so far seems to choose a much better peer set than difficult child ever did. He has been verbalizing his confusion about why his brother can steal and curse at us and he never goes to jail. That worries me.

We have done some counseling outside of difficult child and I found a parent support group about an hour away (their kids were all adults, but they could relate to what I'm going through.) I looked online and there is a Naranon group that is closer to us that I intend to check out. It seems like so many groups/information focus on how not to enable your grown child (or other adult user), but for parents of juveniles there's just not much. Or I guess I personally haven't found much. Except boot camps and I'm not sure whether those are just a racket or for real.


New Member
Petunia, I smiled through your post. A lot of us have written the same post. I wish I had answers for you. I don't. I've detached quite a bit from difficult child 1, as she has deliberately caused harm to me and my family. (All while appearing über sweet to the outside world.) I purchase only what I have to. No perks for her, unless she starts treating us better. Thanks to her, I learned from CPS I'm not legally obligated to be a great mom ... just adequate.( I wish she would just let me be her mom ) Because my difficult child 1 is immune to consequences, her behavior doesn't change. I worry about my boys the way you do your younger one. We love them, guide them and pray heavily. So far, so good. Their thought process is completely different than the girls, and parenting sticks with them. The girls? Not so much.

You will have a lot of book suggestions. So here it goes: A book that has been eye opening for me is Character Disturbances by George K. Simon. He also has a web site: The book isn't for everyone, but your difficult child sounds similar to mine.

Welcome. :)


Well-Known Member

I think I'm going to go out on a limb here (you'll discover I do that a lot around here!)...

Is substance abuse really the issue…or a symptom?
Good question. Technically, it can go either way. But in my observation... more often it is a symptom. Until proven otherwise, I'd assume he's trying to self medicate...

How do you get to the "root" of ODD?
Well... frequently (depending on who you talk to, that's anything from "some of the time" to "most of the time")... ODD is not the root of anything... it describes problem behaviors - and acknoledges that these exist. Fine. Now what? nope. nothing out there about what to do about ODD.

So... assume, as with substance abuse, that it is just another symptom.

Is family counseling really the answer?
Well... only if the root cause of the problem is family dynamics.

Since I don't know where we went wrong...
Then the best you can do now, is to figure out what IS wrong... what are the missing parts to this puzzle that is your difficult child? (more on that later)

How "detached" can you get from a minor child?
DON'T GO THERE. Not yet, anyway.
Because... from my own experience? so many of these problems have at the root, a child that is missing a securely attached relationship.
This is not your fault.
If this is indeed the case, then there will be a raft of OTHER things that have gone on for years, that have driven him away from you - and around the bend. But if attachment is an issue (and this will NOT be the classical attachment problem known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), so don't even go look it up...) then the worst thing you can do is further detach yourself.

What on earth can be behind the attitude and behavior?

Can you tell us more about his early years? before he started school, the first grades, middle school?


Well-Known Member
Hi there. been there done that with my now twenty-seven year old daughter and I truly thought she'd end up in jail or dead. by age seventeen she had been on probation twice for pot and she was lucky she hadn't been caught with the stronger stuff she used. She was diagnosed with bipolar, but she's been clean for a long time now and obviously doesn't have it. Her drug abuse screwed her up and our family was a mess until we finally had to make her leave because the cops kept coming over and the two younger kids were becoming traumatized. To ease your mind a bit, both of those kids looked at what difficult child was doing to herself and the rest of us and are both drug free with no desire to be like she had been. Your twelve year old sounds like he has his head on straight. have you talked to him about this?

I highly recommend going to an Al-Anon or Narc-Anon meeting. That way you will get real life help in person. Most of our kids start using drugs because of low self esteem or depression or feelings of inadequacies, but we can't really help their other issues while they are using drugs. You may have to watch the train wreck and let him hit rock bottom, at which time there is a good chance that he will be open to any help you are willing to give him, be it rehab or other interventions. If he will agree to try rehab now, that would be better, but, as you probably know, at his age, he has to agree to treatment.

I am so sorry you are going through this. I know first hand how horrible it is to watch your child self-destruct. but I also know that this same child can turn around and decide "I hate my life. I want to change it." Your son is no worse than my daughter was and she is clean now since age nineteen. She had been using drugs since twelve. Yes, twelve. No, we had no clue. She was very good at hiding it.

by the way, you have an adroable chihuahua. My dog is 3/4th chihuaha. Our furbabies can comfort us so much at times, can't they?

Huggggggggggz and keep us posted.


New Member
Thank you all for your responses. I'm going to try to feed out some more information requested by various people here (long post alert!):

1. Has your younger child ever expressed any anxiety or anger about the behavior of your difficult child? Is he afraid of difficult child? Would you be willing to take easy child to see a therapist? Yes, in the past there was much more anxiety about difficult child, more recently is seems to be anger. He has been afraid of difficult child in the past, but difficult child largely leaves easy child alone now, focusing more of his aggression toward us, the parents. I have considered therapy for him, I have discussed it with him, and he has expressed anxiety about that because he's not one to discuss too much with a "stranger". He says he'd rather tell me or his "Grammie" (my mom) any feelings he has. My mom, due to her life experiences, has a lot of experience with therapists and has done pretty well coaching him up when he has expressed thoughts to her. I don't know if that's adequate or not.

2. SO...What on earth can be behind the attitude and behavior? Can you tell us more about his early years? before he started school, the first grades, middle school?
Oh my. OK, pregnancy, classic textbook normal. Delivery - very long (over 39 hours), very difficult, very traumatic. By the time the doctor realized difficult child was face-up and almost 10 lbs, we were too far along in the process to do anything over than proceed. Ended up with nurses holding the bed to keep it from dragging across the floor while doctor pulled with- forceps (hope that's not too's true). Extensive reconstruction required for me afterward. difficult child had facial bruising, but was otherwise as healthy (and large) as a horse. He nursed well and slept well. He was not colicky and was pretty easy to soothe. He did all the physical stuff like walking pretty early (9 months). He always had an independent streak, even as a baby, about naps (he didn't like them), and began climbing out of his crib way before I expected it. He managed to escape from the house one night when he was about 18 months old. Luckily the sound of the door wakened me and I found him on the street corner before he got too far. That sticks out in my mind as the beginning of our real issues. We put a baby gate in his bedroom door, he climbed it. We put a deadbolt on the front door that required two hands to open (push a button while you turn a knob), he unlocked it. We put a chain on the door up high, he pulled a chair over and unlocked it. I found him on top of the refrigerator, the garage, and the privacy fence. I began sleeping on the couch to make sure he didn't get out. It was at about this same age he began to be aggressive at daycare and other venues. He was bigger than the other kids and would bite, hit, and push them down. He was eventually kicked out of all the daycare centers in our town due to these behaviors (and Sunday School. They asked us not to come back). He had no fear. Of anything. He never reacted the way my "what to expect" books said he should. Here's an example: We live in a house built in 1912 (translation: cold and drafty). We used a kerosene heater to aid our poor furnace in heating the house. He wanted to touch the heater. I drug him away from that thing countless times...over, and over, and over, telling him it was "hot". I distracted him, he would throw down whatever activity I had given him and return to that heater with his hand out. Finally, my mother in law said, "Let him touch it. He'll learn." One day, it happened. He climbed the barricade and made it to the heater before I realized it. He touched the heater, burned his hand and set his favorite blanket on fire. He never touched the heater again....never even tried. So I thought, Aha! He learns as long as it's own his own terms. Unfortunately, it isn't a popular idea for daycare to let the other kids learn to bite, hit, and push back. So started my journeys to the doctors. The first pediatrician told me the only problem with my child was that he didn't have a mother who loved him enough to stay home with him full time (I worked almost full time). At that point in my life I was not very good with confrontation. Luckily, mother in law was with me (God rest her soul) and she chewed him up and spit him out. We left with a referral to another pediatrician. It was determined that he was having repeated ear infections, so we started working on those (eventually tubes). He also referred us to a large Children's hospital in a major city. The doctor there told us there was definitely "something" wrong, but at almost 3 years old, he was too young to be diagnosed with much. He said that eventually we would probably be given a diagnosis of ADHD and that treatment could begin after he was in elementary school, but not before (remember, this is 1998). One thing he noted was that the child had "no natural fear". We were virtual prisoners in our home. We couldn't take him out in public places (like the park or McDonald's playland because he would terrorize other kids) When he was 4, I became pregnant with our 2nd child and I became a stay at home mom. Luckily, because we were out of daycare centers and had run through all of our friends and family who could fill in with daycare (no one could handle him. It was a 24/7 job to keep him from hurting himself or others). He was excited about his brother and never seemed anxious about him being there or asking about "sending him back". He didn't try to hurt the baby, he liked to help with getting diapers and so forth. He did continue to be aggressive toward other kids his age and sometimes toward me. In Kindergarten, he attacked another kid with a broomstick handle to the head. The father of that child threatened to kill our whole family if they didn't move my kid out of the class (obviously some issues there), so we were moved to another classroom. The aggressiveness toward others outside of our home really subsided in 1st grade. He began being more disruptive than aggressive, which wasn't popular with the teacher, but didn't garner any death threats from other parents, so I was OK with it. Once he was in school, we implemented a reward/consequence program suggested by the teacher. You know, smiley faces or green check marks earned him rewards, frowny faces or red checkmarks did not. This had no effect on him. Zero. But we doggedly persisted, at the advice of all the "experts" (pediatrician, principal, teacher, well-meaning friends and family). We tried consistency: If you do X, then your punishment is Y. If you do A, your reward is B. We didn't waiver, even when he threw himself on the floor and held his breath until he passed out. Eventually, in 3rd grade, the teachers said it was time to do an ADHD evaluation. He was diagnosed and we began our pharmaceutical adventure. Every single class of medication ever prescribed for effect. In 4th grade, the ODD diagnosis was added and we began Risperadal (sp?), no effect. We tried private school, thinking the smaller class size would help. Nope. In 5th grade, his grades plummeted to D's and F's rather than C's and B's. In middle school, all the behaviors just continued, but on a bigger scale and with less tolerance from the teachers. By this time I had returned to work part-time for the school district (even though I'm anti-School District. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, you know). I was quite accessible to all the teachers and administrators and I was either called or emailed daily about the disruptive behaviors (he was always polite to the teachers, just annoyed the tar out of everyone). Those discipline problems eventually escalated back into picking on other kids (nothing major). Then refusal to obey teacher requests, insubordination, etc., but through it all, he never displayed the absolute destruction, meltdown, full out rage that we would get at home.
As far as his friend choices, going all the way back to early elementary, his friends were always the most pitiful things he could drag home. Absent parents, terrible home lives, etc. I always let them come to our house to play because 1. I could keep an eye on them and 2. They could have dinner with us (for some reason I felt this was very important). His friendships tended to be intense and short-lived, but always the same type of kid. That pattern continues to this day, but they are no longer allowed to my house because by 8th grade the "friends" were breaking into the house and stealing from us. It took a while for me to realize this, but eventually I did and we don't allow them on our property anymore (again, he has never had a friendship that lasted more than a few months. Generally it's a few weeks. A kid becomes his "best" friend immediately and then is discarded after a while. I never have figured out if it's him or them that is terminating the friendship, but I tend to believe it's him because there were a couple of kids who would continue to come to the house asking to hang out and he would refuse to let them in, telling me they were "bad" or "dumb" or "mean". More recently he would tell me a person is "annoying" or "stupid" and that's why he doesn't hang out with them anymore. Of course, that was back when he could still speak to me like a halfway normal person).
Other things that really stick out - pathological lying (if he tells me the sky is blue, I'll go verify it just in case, been this way for a number of years); refusal to take responsibility for his actions, convinced that he is the center of the Universe; all things must work favorably toward him, but it doesn't matter how horribly he treats others; complete lack of understanding of consequences of his actions; complete and utter failure of any reward or consequence motivating him in any way; dislike for anything that requires more than minimal effort (like breathing) on his part.

3. Insanecdn - it's funny you told me not to go look up Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), but you were too late. I had seen that in several people's signatures, so I had already googled it. The really strange thing is, my kid meets so many of the "classic" symptoms. Of course, he meets a lot of "classic" symptoms of a LOT of diagnoses, I'm sure!
4. Midwest Mom - My chihuahua seems to be the only person who really understands me. AND she lets me use her fur to soak up my tears. There's no greater love than this.
Since it took me most of the day to type this long dissertation, I think I'll stop here. Thanks, guys!


You have a great sense of humor.

Do you think difficult child would go for a neuropsychologist evaluation? He was not diagnosis right and until he finds out what was wrong he'll probably continue to self-medicate. Maybe an Occupational Therapist (OT) and an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) evaluation as well. (neuropsychologist might do the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) evaluation.)

Family counseling would be a joke. difficult child's problem doesn't seem to be the family. What counseling might do is get difficult child to buy into finding out what is wrong and changing some of the years of attitude built up.

Welcome to the board! Sorry I don't have more practical advice, but mine are into teenage years yet. (We're getting there though.)


Well-Known Member seem like such a neat person. Im so sorry about your difficult child...sounds like he has always had issues. Often this is the case and we try to get help and never really get it. It is not your fault.

I couldn't help but laugh when you referred to you pup as "the only PERSON who understands me" but I make that mistake all the I talk to my little pup about my problems and he never interrupts me and is always there to give me kisses, like he understands.

I truly hope things improve for your son. My daughter was a mess as a teen. I thought she'd end up dead or in jail (that was the best case scenario), but she turned it around. As bad as it was for her, I always tell parents never give up. There is ALWAYS hope. But the teen years are so taxing...gentle hugs to you and keep us posted. We care.


Active Member
What a sense of humor you have which is part of how you will cope and make it through this. I have a difficult child daughter who turned 17 almost 2 month ago. We have many things in common. She has had all the same diagnosis as your son initially. Unfortunetly we found out that her issues were far worse and she had suffered extensive abuse at the hands of a family member when she was very young. We did not begin having school trouble until puberty. We have done 2 different residential treatments over the last almost 3 years. She came out worse on both occations. She is now beginning to mellow. When I say mellow-it only means that one or two deliquent behaviors have decreased or gone away.

We have done it all-therapy of many kinds (some of it forced on her). Club sports (that took up lots of her time), music, complete supervision, running off friends, changing schools etc. etc. Does any of it work? They are their own person and the real issue is that we cannot change or control another human. Would I do anything different??? I do think I would have sold the home and changed neighborhood years ago-not enough good kids close by my kids ages. Other than that, no. Has any of it worked? I don't believe we will know until the frontal cortex develops and she is in better control of herself.

I did not read all the posts but I don't think you should do the detatchment thing. He is your responsibility still and he needs you (he doesn't know this). To me the real trick is not blaming yourself and the family. Took us a long time to get there. Kids do things and things happen to them outside your control. They come to earth prewired and may have a predisposition to mental or neorologic problems. These can be triggered by any of a number of things. What may trigger you, may not trigger me. We all do the best we can in parenting and protecting. None of us are perfect.

Yep, I get the whole social isolation thing. I find peace at NAMI. Most of these parents have kids who have had drug issues as well. When I went to the 12 step meetings, I went to learn the process and what to do in order to not enable. I did not find comfort there and ended up at NAMI. Several parents have ADHD kids, some have spectrum disorders-it is like this board. I learned about the system as well-very important. We did have to get state help a year ago when we ran out of funds after an 18 month residential treatment at a dual diagnostic place. I learned a lot there-we even took 2 girls and our daughter into our home each night once difficult child hit a certain phase and became an oldcomer and mentor. I learned from the girls. I learned from books and the internet. The state experience was horrible-abusive really. I 'm glad I was armed by my NAMI group. Knowledge is power.

In the end you must have a bit of hope and support for you. You have to find healthy coping to avoid the anxiety ( I almost got medication because it got so bad). You are the person you are in control of and can help right now. As you seek help in anyway you can. You must care for you. It took me too long to listen to this advise and I have aged sooo much over the last 3 years. I'm sure I've shaved years off my life. Care for you, husband and easy child. Love and fight for difficult child as much as you can. Ask that judge to take him out of your home for awhile and into treatment if you are ready. You will be no good to him if you are run down. ((( Hugs))) and know that you are not alone and that there are no solutions-just support and ideas.


Well-Known Member
Hi...Petunia, I cant tell you what the future will bring but I can tell you have had a heck of a past! Whew. I am gonna figure that his conduct disorder diagnosis is pretty spot on with everything you have written about him. I dont hear anything autistic in a kid who joyfully wants to con a therapist about drug abuse and then laughs about it. Nope...that isnt Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

I figured when Buddy asked about the CHINS or PINS petitions you were out of luck because your son is already on probation. Once a kid is on probation, CHINS is useless. Probation is supposed to do all that.

Now you do have me a bit interested in where you are located with those strong rules for parents with unruly teens! I mean I understand if a parent hands a kid a knife and tells the kid to go slash someone's tires, then they should be responsible for the child slashing the tires...financially. Depending on the age, maybe CPS be involved for handing a child a knife. But I have never heard of a parent being charged the same crime as their child just because their kid committed a crime. Heavens. I could have had felony possession with intent to distribute fake pot when my son was 14! A gallon baggy!


Active Member
I just wanted to add a few things to my earlier post now that I have had time to read more. Our kids were also 10 pounders at birth. Difficult pregnancies, and difficult child was delivered with forceps as well. I cant help but wonder if this is still traumatic even though they don't remember-I did read this in a book once. Son had ear problems as well. Who knows the cause of their behavior issues? We know so little about the human brain.

My older son needed counseling because of what our daughter had done to our house. The constant turmoil, the not knowing if she would come home after running off, the pot smoking, the stealing etc. He was traumatized even as a 20 something year old. I recommend that she have a chance to see someone. Even a school counselor may be helpful. How can our homes be peaceful when we are on pins and needles ever day dealing with a difficult child?

As for school....I am a teacher and Special Education. certified, though I teach regular ed. now(sort of). The school where I teach is a district sponsered charter and we attract many kids who have failed the regular public schools. We have many with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as we are a science focus school and many of these children seem to have a focus on science or a science topic. We also have a lot of kids with ADHD. Our system just doesn't deal well these kids and most teachers have little training and even worse, compassion and understanding. My day is filled with with behavior management-just like when I taught kids with emotional problems only I have 30 of them rather than 15 and no aide. I love these kids and have many years experience, and compassion as I have raised my own difficult kids-still, they are so hard to take care of academically. I have anger at how few good teachers my own kids had (the good years=an understanding teacher), and understanding for why it is what it is. Neither of my kids could get Special Education. support and were both identified as gifted (no support there either). The 504's we put in place were a joke unless I micromanaged and often had to get ugly about them being implemented. It's all a fight because our society does not understand mental health/other disorders and how they affect behavior. There is little tolerance and little help.There is lots of blame and passing these kids around.

For me it is one day at a time.


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You guys are awesome! I appreciate everyone's thoughts on my situation. It sounds like so many of our kids have such similar issues that there would be one name for it...and oh, how I wish there was a one-size-fits all (that works) solution! Here's where you all have led me:

1. I will be completely open and honest with the new psychologist. If I don't, then I know in the long run I won't be able to sleep because I wouldn't have done everything in my power to help my child. Also, it will continue to still set the example of complete honesty (even though modeling that behavior hasn't seemed to have any effect so far). I think I will also take pictures with me of the damage to our walls, broken windows, and the stripped-down space that my son's bedroom has become (no door, no closet door, no dresser. Just a frame with- mattress (no box spring) that is searched daily. Of course, this just means he moves his hiding spots. I've never shown any of the therapists actual photos and it might make a difference. Probation made a random home visit this week and the PO was much more sympathetic after she saw his room. She actually said, "Wow, I know you told me all this, but seeing it in person makes me understand what you've been trying to tell me all this time).
2. I will ask the psychologist about a neuropsychologist evaluation, where one might be available or who to ask for a referral
3. I will go to the Naranon meeting just so I can check it out and see if it will help me...even if it's not until later that it helps me.
4. I have joined NAMI online (thanks for that one...I had never heard of that organization) and I will contact the nearest chapter to see what they can offer
5. I will ask easy child's pediatrician for a referral for a professional that might be able to connect with him to discuss his coping skills for what we do on a daily basis (even the "missing person" status seems stressful for easy child...although it keeps the rage/tantrums out of the house, it brings on it's own set of anxiety about where difficult child is sleeping and whose pajamas he is wearing)
6. I will ask the judge for some type of mandated treatment (the original order for substance abuse evaluation fell way short of even beginning to touch the tip of our iceberg). Hopefully I will be given this opportunity. The last appearance before him was pretty one-sided..and it wasn't our side. I don't know if this is the answer or if it will even work in his present state of mind, but again, it "seems" like the right thing to do, exhaust ALL options. I wonder if I can write the judge a letter to be read ahead of time. Hmmm.

Exhausted - our difficult child DID qualify for Special Education services under "other health impaired" (after YEARS of my requesting testing and being denied due to his high scores on state standardized tests. I stopped requesting and DEMANDED instead. Works much better). Based on the SD's testing, he could read at grade level 13, but had the attention span of a 3rd grader. This was 2 years ago. He participated somewhat willingly at first (it at least kept him from full-blown expulsion during his freshman year and allowed him to do some credit recovery for the time while he was not allowed in the school building). But this year, with the escalation of drug use and moving from pot into harder stuff, he started refusing services at school (we were doing a pull-out program--he would be pulled from reg study hall to resource room 1x/week unless he had multiple failing grades, then he would be pulled more often. Since all of his grades were failing, he was being pulled all the time and he started getting defiant and refusing to leave his seat, thus resulting in more discipline referrals). The SPED teacher attempted many times to help, but for us it wasn't worth having the teacher/other students subjected to his antics, since the services had failed to show any improvement in his grades or school performance. So we voluntarily signed out at the case conference recently. Let the teachers focus on someone who actually WANTS to learn and just take his disruptions out of their classroom equation. I hope that doesn't cause everyone to gasp aloud. It looks so much worse in writing than it sounded in my head. Also, I've always thought that his difficult birth may have deprived his brain of oxygen for just enough time to make him slightly off somewhere. Or perhaps the forceps delivery caused brain bruising or something. Or it is genetic...all the genes from husband's side, of course. LOL.
Dammit Janet - the information about parents being charged with their child's crime came from an attorney (we had used him in the past) I contacted to ask about my rights as a parent to stop being victimized by my child (don't laugh). I had heard the term "emancipation" and that was my goal at the moment. I interpreted him as saying this would apply to crimes that had an actual "victim" - such as assault, rather than "victimless" crimes like possession. The attorney did say to keep documentation of all of our attempts to help our child, and knowing us personally, he thought the prosecutor would not pursue such an avenue, but that it was a possibility. Perks of a small town - knowing everyone. Downside of a small town - knowing everyone.

That's my resolution list for now. I may update it later, and if you all keep the suggestions and conversations coming, I will be very appreciative!

Thanks again!!