New here, ready to hang my son by his toenails.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by comatheart, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. comatheart

    comatheart Guest

    First, I'm not exactly sure how I found this group and my son does not have any diagnosis but after reading through many of your posts I think this is the right place for me to find support, which I am desperately needing at this moment.

    My husband and I have 4 children. Our oldest son is 14 and for the last 2 years he is slowly going downhill. We keep trying to tell ourselves that it's just hormones or normal teenage rebellion but I'm really starting to get worried that there is much more going on. Frankly I don't know where to start!?

    Around 12 he began showing signs of depression. Our once bubbly kid was withdrawn and stopped playing outside with the neighborhood kids. Teachers started complaining that he never talked. Ever since preschool he'd always been the one getting in trouble for talking when you're not supposed to, so this was a red flag for us.

    Then came the talk and thoughts of suicide. His younger brother told us and we immediately took him to a Doctor (psychiatric? I can never get the terms straight) who diagnosis him with depression said he wasn't getting enough sleep and prescribed a sleeping medication and a depression medication. We met with him once a week for a couple months, upped the medications, decreased the medications and finally stopped them altogether because it didn't seem to be doing anything anyway. He denied ever really wanting to kill himself. We stopped seeing the psychiatric.

    His grades started slipping and he began lying and sneaking. He waited until we were asleep and he'd go online and look up porn, order PPV x rated films and eat all the food in the pantry. We started locking everything down at night before we went to bed and invested in software for the easy child. He was forced to go earn money to replace all the food that he had snuck out of the pantry (we counted wrappers and boxes found in his room and it was well over $100 worth) My husband took him to the store and made him buy all of the things he took with the money he earned so he could see how much it costs and why we have to limit his consumption because we have a family of 6. Did it work? NOPE. The very next week he'd snuck several more food items in the middle of the night once again.

    At 13, during a random room search, my husband found a rolled up baggy with a white powder inside. We were very alarmed and took him to the Pediatrician thinking it was drugs. It turned out, it was prescription drugs he had gotten out of the medicine cabinet, crushed up and he had planned on sneaking it in his brothers food "as a joke". He has this particular hatred towards this brother who is special needs and requires a lot of our attention. We knew instantly his intentions were not so pure. The Doctor spoke with him alone and came to the conclusion that he wasn't a risk to himself or others and told us to take him home and lock up our medications. We did and have lived on lock down ever since. He urged us to get our son into counseling and we did. The counselor suggested we get him back on Antidepressant and so the pedi prescribed Celexa. It seemed to help a little and so he takes it daily. He goes to counseling weekly but unfortunately, won't open up and after 7-8 months they've gotten no where.

    A couple weeks ago we discovered that he had stolen 2 sets of headphones from the store. We talked to an officer who agreed to come to our door at 6am and barge in and scare the living daylights out of him for stealing. It seemed to work and we saw him cry for the first time in years so we thought finally we'd gotten in his head. We forced him to return the headphones to the store and apologize to the manager. Then we find out he straight faced lied to the officer, us and his therapist that it was first time he had stolen. In fact the list is growing by the day of things we find that he has stolen!! It has been a major eye opener!!! He would most certainly have a felony charge on his record if he had been caught by law enforcement. He was put on restriction from all electronics and going to friends houses until he can repay what he took.

    It's been just over a week and if it weren't enough that he's stolen hundreds of dollars worth of things from the store, he stole my cell phone right below my nose after I had plugged it in to charge and fell asleep on the couch So now when we go to bed the house has to go on full lockdown again! medications locked, computers restricted, house phones and cell phones in our room, pantry locked etc etc.

    He doesn't seem to have any remorse. He's obviously not learning from his mistakes and our house is slowly turning into a prison for everyone else in the family. We're scared that he's getting progressively more daring and will soon be into drugs or stealing cars.

    I've researched Military School and there's no way we can afford the tuition. What do we do to get him back on track???

    I have an appointment at the Pediatrician Monday. I'm going to ask that they drug test him but I honestly dont think he's using. He doesn't have any money to purchase drugs and he really only has one friend and he seems like a good kid. At any rate, I'd like to be able to be 100% certain.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 30, 2010
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    First of all - WELCOME!

    Lots of hugs. Many of us know what you're going through - as I am sure you've seen.

    in my opinion - this isn't "normal teenage rebellion". I still consider myself fairly "normal", but I did take things from my parents. Honestly though? I felt bad about it and the things always found their way back. I grew up without a lot of junk food around - so I didn't take food in the middle of the night. Every rare so often, but that's within the realm of "normal".

    When you talk to the pediatrician - besides the drug test (which, by the way, you can pick up one at Walgreens or CVS or WalMart, etc.) - see if you can get a referral for further psychological testing. You mentioned he has not been diagnosis'd, so I am guessing he hasn't had a neuropsychologist evaluation.

    Onyxx has a felony record for theft - drug theft. We now have our medications in a safe in the bedroom, which is also key locked. We have a plastic tub of foods that she would consider particularly desirable (popcorn, tortilla chips, any soda or alcoholic drinks we have in the house, ANY sweets, and potatoes) tucked in the closet. I bought a small dorm-type fridge for our room because I have medications that must be refrigerated, and I'm paranoid. I have my injection needles all rubber banded together in groups of 5, color coded, so at a glance I can tell if any are missing.

    I sleep with my cell phone less than 2 feet from my head (if I am on the far side of the bed, it's 3). There is a motion sensor on the doorway for nights and at the other end of the hall. Nothing stops Onyxx for long.

    I bet this is sounding familiar, isn't it?

    Funny thing here - you mentioned his friend "seems like a good kid". Hopefully, he is; but keep in mind that many of our own Board family, upon meeting Onyxx last summer, thought she seemed sweet, polite, and possibly a "situational difficult child" - though they all knew more than they were letting on (to her). She can be such an angel - to people who don't live with her.

    I was on Lexapro (very close to Celexa) for nearly a year, and it helped. Until it didn't anymore. I'm definitely not saying this is the case with your son. However - here's the problem - they switched me to Zoloft, which I'd been on before with no effect. Didn't help. Wellbutrin a while back - turned me into a stark raving WITCH. I didn't even like MYSELF. Onyxx has been on... Zoloft, Seroquel, Trazodone, Abilify, and about 6 others in the last 4 years. WHEN we could get her to take them, they didn't seem to have any effect. However - she was NOT taking them on a regular basis, we found out - and many of these medications don't work if not taken consistently (or at all). She has self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. We do what we can, but it's not easy. And it's not working.

    As for his issues with your other child - please, oh please, watch him! The #1 priority is to protect yourself - then the rest of your family - from any threat posed - and crushed prescription medications could seriously harm another child.

    There will be others along with other points of view and other information... But for now, welcome to the family!!!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to add my welcome!
  4. ryzgal

    ryzgal Guest

    I myself am new here, but add my warm welcome to you as well!
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Comatheart.
    So sorry you had to find us. I hope you find your way back!
    So many of the restrictions/lockdowns/interventions you've enacted sound just like what we've done. I hate to live like this, but our son has a very slow learning curve and it is much better to be proactive than reactive.
    I would suggest taking your son to a neuropsychologist for a long evaluation.
    I would also suggest somehow finding out if he understands any of the conseqences of his behavior. We have sat down with-our son on several occasions, the most powerful being with-police and a therapist (not at the same time), and told him that what he got away with-as a kid will not wash when he is a teen. It flat-out means juvenile detention and later, jail.
    It is very, very good that your son cried. Don't discount the tears just because he lied about how many times he has stolen. Something, somehow, got through to him.
    Sometimes, our son cries because he knows he's been caught. Sometimes he cries because he knows whatever he did/took will be taken away. Sometimes, he even cries because he feels real remorse. That is the goal we are reaching toward.
    The problem is, with-your son's impulsivity (and I can guarantee you that one if his dxes will be impulsivity and maybe ADHD, a handy term) he will steal again, and you will have to scare the you-know-what out of him again. And again.
    I cannot promise you 100%, but I can pretty much assure you that at some point, he will learn.
    It is just that he will not learn on any learning curve that you have yet experienced in this lifetime.
    Do NOT let him wear you down. Much easier said than done, as I'm sure you've seen from many of the notes on this board. Raising a child like this makes us all turn prematurely gray.
    Can you give us some history of what he was like as a baby and as a toddler? Did he reach all of his milestones on time?
    I hate to say this, but since you already have one child who is special needs, it is possible that this son is also special needs, but so high functioning that he has flown under your radar until now. And that's what the neuropsychologist evaluation would be looking for. Just a thought.
    Also, in regard to the depression, I have two thoughts. One is that when the hormones hit, they can hit in a number of different ways. One can be depression.
    The other is that the dr who diagnosed lack of sleep could be right on, especially since you just discovered that your son has stolen electronics on numerous occasions, so he is either staying out late at night to steal, or he is staying up late at night play the games and electronics that he has stolen, so he is sleep deprived either way.
    My son has only stolen electronics from one (ex)friend that we are aware of, and the rest he steals from rooms in our house, so we have locks on all the doors. The fun never ends. ;)
    So far, you and your husband have done a GREAT job responding as a team to a rather untenable situation.
    Keep up the teamwork. Get lots of sleep. Stay vigilant.
    Keep us posted!
  6. comatheart

    comatheart Guest

    He was a typical baby as far as milestones, he met them all perfectly. He did run very high fevers of unknown cause for his first 2 years. The doctors ran many, many tests and never did figure out why. Around 2 he suddenly got better and has rarely gotten sick since.

    He was a very difficult toddler/preschooler. Threw ginormous tantrums and seemed to find trouble constantly. We consulted with his Pediatrician at the time who worked with us on his behaviors. He wore a sticker card on a string around his neck for about a year and we would give him a sticker for every good behavior we saw. The card being around his neck at all times really helped remind him constantly to be good and it helped get us through those years. After that he seemed fine until about 12. There were some significant family stressors about that same time and I have no doubt they helped contribute to downward fall. Unfortunately he refuses to acknowledge any of it.

    The stressors during that time:

    1. His biological father (whom he did not know) died of cancer. My husband has been difficult child's "dad" since he was 3 weeks old and officially adopted him. I realize that even though he didn't have a relationship, his death must have impacted my son in some way even though he says it hasn't to the therapist.
    2. We adopted our youngest from the foster care system. It was a long, drawn out battle.
    3. We picked up and moved to another State away from his friends.
    4. His special needs brother "N" got sick and required 2 major surgeries at a hospital in another State in 1 year time.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I haven't read the other responses but I would recommend a complete evaluation by either a pediatric/adolescent psychiatrist (not psychologist) AND possibly also a pediatric neuropsychologist. Puberty is a notorious time for mental health problems to escalate in people already predisposed, and he's certainly had enough big stressors to trigger something like depression. I suspect that Celexa is not enough for him and that his issues may be more complex than a straightforward depression.

    The good news is that he has a supportive family and a warrior mom who is asking the right questions and reaching out for answers. Now it's a matter of getting him seen by the right professionals who can help sort out what's really going on.

    If you live near a major city, your best resource would be a children's hospital or a teaching hospital that has psychiatric services. It will be very helpful to know anything pertinent about the family tree on both sides (drug or alcohol abuse, mental health issues, learning disabilities, etc.).

    Good luck, and welcome!
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I stopped reading at the crushed up medication. Was it a stimulant?

    The reason I asked is because my daughter was a drug abuser and she told me the very "hottest" thing drug users do now is to get ADHD medications, particularly Adderrall, but they like Ritalin too, and crush it in pillcrushers than snort it, either by itself or often with other drugs. This is a HUGE problem. Often the k ids fake ADHD so they can get the medications or steal their siblings ADHD medications. frankly this info has turned me off to ADHD medication. My daughter is clean now for eight years. She has told me A LOT about the world of drugs...she used from age 12 (yes, this is a common age to start) to age 18. My guess, from what my daughter has told me, is that he could be stealing to sell stuff hot so that he has money for drugs. I would spring a surprise drug test on him because in my opinion he's using drugs and not just pot and not just casually. Then you may be able to get him into some program. Guarantee you, he'd NEVER last at a military school. They'd just end up expelling him.

    Be careful!!!
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info, Comaheart. Your family has been through a lot.
    I agree with-MWM to keep a sharp eye out for more possible drug abuse ... you just never know.
    This is going to take quite a bit of sifting to figure out. I hope you can find a good therapist. Sounds like you haven't had the greatest luck so far.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome-glad you found us but sorry you needed to.