New Member

I found my way here after searching for help for my 15 yr old son and am in need of both support and help. My husband and I noticed behavior problems with our son starting in about 3rd grade, namely being disrespectful to those with authority. As the years passed, if he liked a teacher, then things were good (we didn’t have many years like that), and if he didn’t like them, then he was going to show them who was in control. He mouthed back to them, didn’t listen and pretty much did whatever he wanted. He is an intelligent kid, and his report cards always read a smart boy who doesn't apply himself and live up to his potential. I can’t tell you the countless phone calls we’ve received from the principle about his behavior. The principle in elementary school thought that he might suffer from depression so around age 8-9 we took him to a counselor who helped a bit but we didn’t feel like he was the right person to help us. We took him to his pediatrician who didn’t think he had depression and we naively thought that this was “just a phase that he would outgrow”.

Now 7 years later, we realize what a mistake we made by not getting him more help. This last year has been hell for our family. In the summer of 2006, we found out that he was using drugs & sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night. We took him to a great counselor but in the end it turned out that his problems were more than she could help us with. So she referred us to a drug program, which we did take him to. At the beginning of last school year, he was constantly skipping classes and was eventually caught coming back to school high. Instead of expelling him, we took a voluntary withdrawal from school for one semester. He then had to attend a “special school” in the afternoon to help him earn credits and he also attended a drug treatment program. A few weeks after this incident, he was caught joyriding in a car that he stole in the middle of the afternoon from a house a block away from us. When the police pulled him and the other accomplices over, he tried to run. We were referred to county service and were assigned a social worker. This past August, the social worker thought that he had done a good job asked us if we thought we needed her services anymore. At the time he had been doing well so we decided not to continue. Well, one week later he was caught shoplifting and hanging out with a runaway. A week after that he was caught shoplifting again. So back to court once more. Since the start of this school year, he has skipped classes (with good excuses as to why), sneaked out of the house, left home without our permission and was called in as a runaway and tested positive for drugs.

He is currently seeing a counselor and a psychologist, as he was diagnosed with ADD/depression in February of this year. He is currently taking Vyvanse & Lexapro which have helped him concentrate better and helped his mood swings somewhat. Last month, we suggested to the counselor that we thought he had ODD and the counselor agreed. He suggested that we read the book Before It’s Too Late, which I did and it’s as if they were writing the book about our son. Now I am wondering if it really is too late for him. We are tired of his constant lies, manipulative behavior and attitude. My husband and I have come to a point where we think that it is best to send him away to a residential treatment center. We have an appointment with the counselor tomorrow to see what his thoughts are. The only other family member that knows about this is my mother. We are so heartbroken by this that we cannot bring ourselves to tell anyone else, which is why I am here. Any help would be much appreciated!!


Active Member
Welcome to the board. I'm not sure I can offer much help (my children are younger so I haven't gone through all you've gone through yet), but I wanted to respond to your post anyway to let you know that I don't think it's ever too late. You're getting him the help he needs now. It may be residential, or you may be able to keep him home.

A couple of quick recommendations - if your son doesn't have an IEP at school I would try to get him one right away. I know he doesn't have too much longer to go in school but I believe if he has an IEP now it will help him get other services even after graduation, definitely if he goes on to college.

There are also services you may be able to get through your state - we were able to send my difficult child away for respite weekends to a resident treatment facility.

I have to get back to work now, but wanted to say hi and to welcome you to the board.



Active Member
Welcome, and congrats on a good job of keeping on top of your son. you have left no stone unturned.
if your son is willing, and you can afford it, having him go to a locked residential treatment ctr will at least give you some peace of mind that you know where he is.

I did that with my son at age 16 after he stole my car and left for 9 dys. he was so much like your son.

I insisted the juvenile justice system prosecute him. he was kept for two yrs at glen mills in philadelphia. it kept him safe from his choices. not much more than that. he did get his diploma there. at that time it was so important to me that he be held and watched and forced to finish his education.

I too am heartbroken still so I cannot say this all changed my son, but it gave me two yrs he was locked in. I hoped he would mature in that time and change his ways.

sadly he is an alcoholic. 24 and going back to jail for his 4th DUI.
I wish I could tell you there is some magic answer but I think you are on top of things. keep going to counseling yourself. be firm with your dealing with him while he is still a juvenile as you can be held responsible for his actions.

I do know my son suffers from anxiety and hates to be alone at any time and that leads him to drink or choose poor companions.


Active Member
Once drugs become a problem for a kid, all things go to he11 quickly.

It sounds like you are getting all the help you can. Residential may help. At the least, it will save him from himself for awhile.

I think the best thing you can do is start instilling tough love now. If he gets violent, call the cops. Take everything out of his room but his bed. Give him one set of clean clothes he can wash, don't give him money, don't take him places, a drivers license or car is out of the question, don't cook his favorite meals. There is a saying around here, it is "Do to get" That means your son must do to get anything.

The main problem you will have is trying to convince him he is ruining his life and possibly even taking leaps and bounds to an early grave. Sorry, but I know you fear it anyways. He has to want to change to get better. Nothing will work unless he wants it to.Usually, they have to hit rock bottom before they want to change.

I feel for you, I really do. It is so difficult. You may feel alone, but you are not here. There are many of us who have been through and are going through what you are. Hang in there and keep posting, we will help you through.

Hello and welcome.

You have gotten some very sound advice. I would just like to add that no person, child or adult, will accept help for a drug problem until and unless they are ready to admit that they actually HAVE a problem. You can try to force it on him all you want, he can go through the motions, but do as he pleases as soon as he is out again.

Tough love is a difficult thing to practice. But it is essential. Stop bailing him out and let him face natural consequences. Or, see if you can find a locked facility so that you can have some peace of mind.

You have my sympathies and my prayers.


Well-Known Member
Welcome. I am so sorry that your son is making choices that will affect his future. Unfortunately, unless you follow him around 24 hours a day, you will not be able to stop him. Do not feel guilty. It sounds like you have done everything possible to help him. Before any change can take place he has to want to change. I have seen residential treatment work wonders. I have seen it fail. It all depends on the motivation of the client. If he wants a better life, once he is free from his chemically altered state, then he will be willing to work the program. If not, he will at least be safe for a while.


Well-Known Member
Welcome to the site.

How is this residential placement getting funded? If you arent shelling out the bucks, then I say go for it. It may help. I have seen them work, I have seen them fail but at least he will be safe for awhile. It kept mine safe from his own actions for awhile. It wasnt a long term solution by any means.

In the end they have to learn for themselves that this world has rules and they are for them too. Unfortunately these kids dont learn that quickly.


Well-Known Member
My daughter, who is now 23, was a serious drug abuser in high school. If I'd known it (yes, I was dumb--I believed she just smoked pot, which was bad enough, but had no idea the extent of her drug use) I would have sent her to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), if only to get her away from her druggie friends and off the streets. At fifteen it is hard to make a child listen to you if they decide not to. My daughter would jimmy her window and get out at night. We had to put up bars. Drug abusers tend to be great liars so don't trust your son if he says, "But I just drink a little and smoke some pot." My daughter, who is now clean, tells me, "NEVER trust a drug addict. They'll lie to anyone. THey can't be trusted." Psychiatric medications won't work if they are messed with by recreational drugs. (((Hugs))) been there done that. It can get better. I'd get him help though, even if he doesn't want it. In the end, it's his choice. My daughter saw track marks on the arms of her friend and freaked out. THat changed her. It also helped that we through her out of our house (yes, it helped). The police came by all the time and it scared our little ones, not to mention she was a horrible influence. Once she moved out of town, away from drug friends, and with her brother, who is as straight as it gets and very strict, she did straighten out completely and is now very anti-drug. IT CAN HAPPEN, but at his age he has to make that decision to change.


New Member

I am a "Newbie" myself here and I can tell you, the peace of mind i have gotten from the wonderful folks on this site far surpasses anything you can imagine. Welcome.....:)

I raised a son who is 23 now who was at the very most hyperactive as a child so I cannot even relate to what you are going through right now, but I wanted to tell you that IF he had ever started "sinking" into a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol or crime, or even delinquency, I would have given him over to a treatment program as soon as I could have.

2 reasons for this:

Your sanity and physical health and well being.

I watched a neighbor go through this with not one but 3 of her 5 adopted children. When those children were in the capable professional hands of others who were trained to help them, she was a whole different woman!(in a good way)

in my humble opinion:


Again, welcome.


I relate to you and feel for you. Same school issues here. ODD and whatever else I am not sure. At age 12, I have been doing drug tests for two years. So far always clean. I just know that he can look me in the eye, lie straight to my face.
Now my other son, he can't tell a lie if his life depended on it. He gives it away immediately. Boy, I was totally taken by shock with difficult child. They are so good at it aren't they.
You need to stay strong. You are all he has fighting for him. Even if at times it is so overwhelming. I am at that stage. Then I look at him and realize, if I don't fight for him, I may lose him.
I never realized anyone had a child like mine. This place has so much wonderful advice. Gives you hope with all the success stories. I have been at the end of my rope so many times. This board, the people here, they threw me a new rope!
Hang on.


Well-Known Member
If you have funding or money for an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) I would recommend it. As others have already suggested, it will keep your difficult child safe from his own choices for at least a little while, and give you some much-needed rest and peace of mind.

I feel for you.

Good luck,


New Member
I'm so sorry you are going through this...it's so hard to just watch your children cause so much destruction. It sounds like you are working very hard to get the right help for your son and sometimes it takes a little while to get on the right road.

I'm curious, you describe several illegal incidents...has he spent any time in a detention center? My difficult child is in an Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) right now and is working very hard to make positive changes, according to his therapist. Surprisingly, my difficult child says that he thinks that his time in the detention center before the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) is what forced him to make the decision to turn his life around.

We called the police the first time my difficult child made it necessary. I had to send a very clear message to him that I would not tolerate that behavior in my home ever--if I didn't do that, he would have taken it as a pass to do whatever he wants whenever he wants and that is just not acceptable.

I would definitely pursue the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) route, but in the meantime, I would practice tough love. If you have been already, keep it up. Maybe consequences need to be a little harder for him. Sometimes this is the only kind of love that gets through to our G'sFG. I agree with everyone else--it is never too late! Do not give up hope!


New Member
Thank you all for your support and suggestions. With all the trouble my son has been in with the law, he has never spent any time in a juvenile detention center. When he was picked up for joyriding in the stolen car, we specifically asked the police if they could take him downtown and they replied that they couldn't. That night I took everything out of his room except for his bed and clothes. Eventually after 5 months he was allowed to have it back after he showed us that he acting responsible and making a true effort to change his behavior. When we called him in as a runaway last week, the police told us that we cannot request that he be sent to the detention center. If he continues to get in trouble with the law, we will be referred to Child Family Services where a social worker will be assigned to us again and that’s when he will probable end up in detention. I honestly don’t think that being in detention would scare him, only make him mad and rebel even more. We don’t just want to send him away as punishment. We want him to get the help he needs to live a productive not a destructive life. If we don’t address his problems now, they will return in the future no matter where he is placed.

If we aren’t stressed enough about what to do with him, we wonder how we are going to pay for a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) if that’s where he needs to go. We have already paid out a good amount to the county for the social worker, for drug counseling, etc. We are making him pay for his court fines and he will be reimbursing us for the county costs. Hopefully his counseling session tomorrow will provide us with some good options. It’s so exhausting living in a state of tension all the time, wondering when the next phone call will come in stating that he’s in trouble again.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Popping in to welcome you to our little corner of the cyber world. You've been given lots of good advice. Hope you can find funding for residential if that is the way you decide to go.

Keep us updated.


New Member
I think the counseling session this week was helpful for hubby & me. Not so sure for our difficult child. The counselor thinks that we need to contact our social worker and get her involved again. Our son is not responding to us and seems to behave better when she is around. If his behavior gets out of hand, she can then place him in detention if need be, something that we cannot do right now. After the session our difficult child was "angry at the world" and stated that he was not going to take his medications anymore since they weren’t doing any good anyway. I was afraid that once we got him back to school that day he was going to leave, but fortunately that wasn’t the case. We have had several people (including the police) say that he is an angry kid, but how do you find out the cause? I don’t think he opens up at the counseling sessions and he definitely won’t tell us. Any suggestions??


Well-Known Member
Ack! I know how frustrated you must be, that the police won't take him to detention. But then again, maybe you're right--that may just make him rebel more. It's hard to say.
How did he react when you purged his room? Sounds like it worked well. You may want to go that route again. Start with-computers, CDs, rides to and fro. The hard part is staying calm while you reinforce the rules.
If he opens up in counseling, can't you request that the counselor give you some ideas? I mean, you're paying the bill and the idea is to help him?
The street drugs are a definite problem, especially since his on scrip medications. Don't know how to help with-that.
I'm glad you found the book, Before It's too Late. I would suggest it is not, because he's still in your house and still impressionable.
So sorry you have to go through this.


Roll With It
welcome. So sorry you need to be here with us. I recommend http://www.loveandlogic.com They ahve lots of free downloads and the books are availablee online and in bookstores. This book helped husband & I get on the same page. It gave us a plan.

Social workeer sounds like a good influence. Call her and get her back. It sounds like do to get is a very good plan. You are not required to do anything more than make sure he has food (not his fave food, or even food he likes, jsut food), a roof over his head, a place to sleep, and clothes. Clothes do not have to be things he likes. Bed should be a mattress on the floor because then he doesn't have the space under the bed to hide stuff.

If it were my kid I would go through his room on a regular but not predictable schedule. Not the same day of the week, just sometime in the week. He sounds very motivated to do the worst things he can.

Has he started being violent with you or others in the family? Pets?? Sometimes pets can have a very calming influence, but you have to be absolutely sure he isnot hurting a pet. Every time he gets violent CALL THE POLICE. Not sure if you have other children, but it is important to send the message that violence will not be tolerated.




New Member
We just had a discussion this week with him regarding what we are "required" to provide for him. He really didn't like our response (food, a mattress and a roof over his head). His reply has been that he has other places to live other than here. We have told him that if these places are so great then go. He is still here. We do go through his room a few times a week and have found things hidden in his floor vents, under his mattress and in a hole made in the box spring. He keeps things that he doesn't want us to see on him all the time (phone numbers, cigarettes, pocketknives, etc.). He forgot to take his list of phone numbers with him when he was getting ready for school one morning and hubby found it and took it away. He was furious!! We never did give it back.

He has never been violent although if you try and place him in his room, he will resist. Hubby and him have gotten into what I call wrestling matches, but never anything violent. We do have a dog who he loves very much and has never hurt her. And while I'm sure he finds his little sister annoying, he has never hurt her either.

He has been doing some community service work this morning and I hate to admit, it is times like these when he is out of the house and supervised that things are most calm at home.


Active Member
hi eandk~

Welcome. Our daughter was 15 when we sent her to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for many of the behaviors you have described your son exhibiting.

What types of things are you finding hidden in his bedroom?

Do you do random drug screens?

Who do these 'phone numbers' belong to?

If I had to wager a guess ... I might say he's into the drug culture a little more deeply than you think.

It sounds like you are doing all of the things you can do. There does come a point where removal from the child's community is a last ditch effort to turn them around.

Are you using an educational consultant as you consider Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or just doing the research yourself?

(((hugs))) I know how hard this is!


New Member
We have found cigarettes, lighters, stolen items (pocketknives, an iPod) and this past week a soda can with what looks like marijuana in it. Of course his explanation for having these items is that he "found them." We do give him random drug tests (the most recent last Sunday). After it came back positive for marijuana, we called his psychologist and had a urine screen done at our local hospital. We're still waiting for the results but I think it may come up positive for other drugs as well. His phone list contains kids that we know for sure are not good influences and some we have no idea who they are which is why we took the list away. We have spoken with his counselor on RTFs but have not really gotten much feedback on where to send him. We see his psychologist Tuesday and see what she says.