Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nancy, Jan 4, 2008.
I've been thinking about you today. How did it go in court?
Nancy, thanks so much for the post. It means a lot to me that you remembered we had this today.
It started out with daughter acting as if she didn't understand anything being said. To the point where the magistrate asked if she was on medications or if she always acted like that - not comprehending short sentences etc. We said she's on medications but she probably was nervous and didn't want to hear what he had to say because she didn't like that she was there. Eventually she pled True to the charges and he sentenced her to 90 days husband, which was suspended, compliance with medications, therapy, the PO, school, no swearing, community service and theraputic plan compliance as well.
She started to show her true colors and he got on to her about respecting him and the court. He threatened to send her away today due to her attitude. He sent us immediately to a PO (I guess this is very unusual) and we had to meet with her for the conditions of probation before we left the courthouse. Her PO is a therapist and I really liked her. I think he thought she'd violate probation very quickly and end up back in court. He said he will send her to husband if she comes back to court doing the things she's been doing.
So far, she's controlling herself. She's not real happy. But oh well. Such is life when you do what she's done.
I have to admit I really feel like our story fits in here on this site. I'm also on a BiPolar (BP) site and it seems some want to explain every behavior a child does on instability. I guess I don't see that based on our experiences and if that were true, it would take away their humanity - their humanness. They're still teens, hormonal factories, etc not just the labels.
We feel very comfortable with the professionals on our team and trust their judgment as well as our own. We've lived thru stabilizing BiPolar (BP) and her mood is stable - not much depression, very little mania. But a whole lot of anger and violence and aggression when told "no" about anything. And then the instant calm when she gets her way. That's just not dependent on mood in our experience but on choice.
ODD is a crappy thing for her to have. I hope this teaches her now before it's too late.
Again, thanks so much for asking.
This is what I love about this site.
It does feel good to read "hey how did it go?", and I see that all the time. If you mention a doctor appointment or court, someone will almost always make a mental note of it and check in with you.
This site (and the warriors who make it what it is) rocks.\
Praying for you, Peaceful.
I think most of us here recognize that our children's behaviors is because of their instability. However, we also recognize that they are going to live in the real world and they can't use their illness as an excuse for the rest of their lives. They have to learn to cope with it and manage it.
Yes, it's harder for them than it is for neurotypical kids, but that doesn't give them an 'out'.
I'm glad court went the way it did and that you got the PO that you did. Maybe it'll start to sink it.
If she can learn a lesson about sassing off to a judge, maybe she can learn a lesson about sassing you, too. Here's hoping, anyway...
I have to agree about the way some people use mental health labels. We have to help our kids to understand that calling something a disease or a disorder is not a free ticket to act out. It means that it is not as easy to fit in as others, and sometimes it's not as easy to behave, but it doesn't mean that they can't.
Thanks for the responses everyone. The support is wonderful.
I'm in the medical field. I don't know if it causes me to have more expectations of people and their illnesses/challenges or what. I'm also in recovery so I know what it's like to do something you don't really want to do but have to do for a long time that may be unhealthy and damaging to yourself. But due to those things I also know there's a way out if you choose to use the tools to do it.
The real world - I so agree! I'm not doing my difficult child any favors by not doing everything it takes to stop violent and harmful behaviors - regardless of their source - in whatever ways are at my disposal. I am responsible for my actions, and hers to a degree, until such time as she's grown. I NEVER want to look into the face of another parent and apologize for my difficult child harming their child in some way. I don't want to have evacuation plans for my 9 yo difficult child who's so very innocent but has to live in a house where he's receiving threats to be killed in his sleep and assualted. He now insists on sleeping in the livingroom, as far from his sister as he can get and near a door, or sleeping with me on a particularly bad day, and he grinds his teeth in his sleep because he's so tense. NO ONE deserves that.
So I'll definitely do whatever it takes. It is choice in so many ways. When it's not, we deal with that too. But responsibility for actions must always happen.
I usually have a sense of humor about most of this stuff (perhaps to save my sanity) but seeing how she behaved in court yesterday was really disheartening. I'm sure you guys know where I'm coming from.
That is sad that your 9 year old has to live his life that way. My 2 other kids were constantly beat up by my oldest difficult child with odd, adhd. I don't have advice for you, but sending support your way. I would do things differently now if could,for them- my 2 easy child.-Alyssa
So sorry that your 9 yr old has to hear threats like that Thats so sad and unfortunately, I can relate because my difficult child has said similar to her younger siblings as well. We have nights that the younger sibs sleep in our bedroom and we have to lock difficult child in another bedroom of the house for her safety and ours. Sending lots of thoughts and prayers that things will somehow turn around for your difficult child and that things will even out in your household.
That is exactly what happened to us the first time difficult child went to court. She was ordered to husband and it was suspended on condition of probation, 40 hours community service, compliance with medications and counseling, good behavior at home, going nowehere withot our permission, staying away from a certain boy who was trouble. Her PO came to the house and was a nice enough elderly grandfather type but she had his number. True to form she violated probation and ended up back in court. I hope that doesn't happen to you but know you realize it probably will.
Looking back on things now, and they are so much better, I realize that one of the goal withs these kids is to try to put enough controls/restraints/fears in them to keep them somewhat in line during these 13-16 age years when they seem to think that the entire world revolves around them and they have no sense of consequences of their behavior. If that can be done, hopefully when they reach age 16-17, their brain allows them to make better decisions. I see the young girls in our high school that get into trouble and with early intervention they either straighten out or they continue into furter trouble and are lost. Our juvenile officer when he last saw me told me he always felt our difficult child would be one that straightened out and they talk about her to this day in the station and will be so proud when she graduates, unlike most of the girls she was hanging with two years ago.
And I agree with you completely on the fact that whatever disorder our difficult child may have, it is still our responsibility to give them the tools to live in our society as a productive and responsible citizen. It would do my difficult child no good for us to not make her face up to her behavior because the real world doesn't work that way.
I see that you are in the medical field and in recover yourself. I have always felt that difficult child's genes were largely responsible for her difficulties, but that she still made the choice to behave in the way she did that caused her to get into trouble. Her inherited background may explain her addictive behavior, her need for risky activities, her impulsiveness, her anger issues, her difficulty in following rules, and on and on, but it is not an excuse. Just as anyone else who is living with a disability, it is her responsibility to manage it with the tools we provide.
I hope your difficult child gets it. At her age though there is certain to be more acting out before that happens. Their brains just don't start to figure it out yet. My difficult child tells many of her friends that she was stupid freshman year and that she did some really stupid things. Hearing this from her really makes me realize that they don't get it until they are mature enough to get it.
difficult child is by no means a perfect child now. She will always struggle with issues/behavior. But she now seems to be able to modify her behavior to get what she wants and to follow society's rules.
P.S. Her community service took the entire summer to complete. She worked at Camp Cheerful as a side walker/horse leader in the therapeutic riding center with children who have disabilities, some very severe. She also had to muck the horse do-do, tack the horses, clean the stables, etc. It was a great communtiy service for her. The lessons she learned in compassion and hard work and fulfilling her responsibilities were well worth it.
Nancy, thanks for sharing. I had to call the PO this am. She refused to clean up her room and swore. I left a message with difficult child yelling in the background. She went to her room and in about 15 minutes started doing what she had been asked to do.
I bought a date/time stampable voice recorder which we'll use whenever we have a reson to call the PO so we can get what we need on tape. It totally avoids the he said/she said thing difficult child tries to do when she's in trouble for something.
I type a list for her each morning on what's planned and expected for the day (she likes lists) to keep to bring in as well if it's needed.
You're right about more acting out to be expected. I hate that that's the case but we both know it's true.
Just a thought on this because I know what would happen if I tried that with my difficult child. If it's feasible, you may want to make 2 copies of the list and have difficult child sign them both. This way, you have a copy that she has obviously seen so she can't say that she never saw it or didn't find it.
That's a good idea! Mostly it was a way for me to track her refusals to listen and outburts etc (or when she actually listens too!). There's no way I could remember every one lately! LOL!
I'll make a more formal form with the sig lines and see how it goes.
I'm glad you added when she listens Peaceful. It's important for our difficult child's to see that when they do comply or follow the rules that it is recognized and communicated to her. Our therapist and PO both emphasized that it can't all be punitive. We were in such a hole with difficult child(or rather she was in such a hole with us) that it was hard to find anything we could praise her for but we had to make a conscious effort to find things and success breeds success. I am just a little worried that she can find a way to dig herself out without having her PO called everytime she sasses back. She will still do the normal stuff kids her age do and that means she will make mistakes and be in moods and sometimes not do what she is suppose to do at the right time.
Thanks Nancy. We always end the day with a hug, tucked in and what you did well today but she's been refusing lately. Can't force her to do it. But we always recognize when she does something without a fit or is able to calm herself quickly. She's gonna dig herself a hole for sure. But sometimes the value of things are proportioanl to what we had to do to get them.
My husband said to just scan in the signed copy and emial them to the PO so she has them quickly and it's electronic. That's what you get with a geek for a hubby! LOL!
I've been staying out of this one but now feel the need to throw out my 2 cents (or, is that 2 SENSE LOL)!. I agree with Nancy's post above on this. I understand you are very frustrated and that your difficult child has been VERY difficult child'ish. My son is on probation for the second time. He did fabulous on it the first time and is doing good, not fabulous, this time. But, he'll never be a perfect easy child, Know what I mean?? If he's doing something typical teen, I feel it's important for several reasons to discipline him in a typical teen way, without notifying the PO. Likewise, if he does something he's supposed to that is acknowledged, rewarded, etc. One thing about him, it's important for the rewards for doing what he's supposed to are more noticeable than the punishments for not, within reason. I'm just saying for him anyway, positive reinforcement normally is more effective. SD was suspending over the least little transgression and giving candy for a week of good behavior- that's absurd, in my humble opinion, and had no good results with my difficult child.
I know this is hard for you- your ticked and frustrated and it almost sounds like you resent her being there and are coming close to "baiting" her- sorry- that's just my opinion.
KLMNO, thanks for your post. You opinion is appreciated and welcome. Not sure why you felt you needed to stay out of it or to post at this time. Anyone is welcome to share their experience, strength and hope at any time.
We want is a functioning, safe household. I'm not going to continue to sacrifice my family on the altar of the ODD that difficult child has.
Perhaps, I didn't respond to Nancy or was unclear. We don't call the PO when she sasses back. We call the PO when she violates the court order. She's not to swear per the judge's order. She's to do as she's asked per the PO. I called due to her violating those things. If she sasses, that's irrelvant as long as she's not swearing and not refusing to comply.
What would be the point of being ticked? That would only hurt me and my family. We're doing what the professionals have told us to do even if it took us a year to do it hoping it would change. I'm sure you understand what it's like to wait to do things in the hopes that it'll change.
The courts didn't ask for the good stuff but I feel it's important to do, so I'm giving them that too. If they don't want it, they'll let me know. I'll still let difficult child know at home.
What they made us swear to in court is that we'll report what we're reporting. Otherwise, why bother with involving them?
What baiting are you referring to?
I never raise my voice in our household. Never. My friends ask me how I can possibly do this. My nickname is Miss Serene. LOL! They've been here when difficult child is at her worst and watch me (and my husband although at times he'll finally yell) tell her calmly to go to her safe spot, get control of herself and, when she's ready, come back to us. It's hard for me to do this. But it has to be done. If I can't control myself, why would I ask her to control herself?
I don't resent her being here. I'm disgusted at times by her actions. She didn't ask for her disorders and I know she doesn't want to walk around and live with them on a daily basis. Who would? But she has to learn to function appropriately with them.
We've tried behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, DBT, occupational therapy, art therapy, a dog theraputic program (with her own theraputic dog), the psychiatric hospital, PHP, SED classes, guided imagery, mindful meditation, yoga, light therapy, theraputic horseback riding, speech language therapy, every medication out there and every tool ever recommended by a professional has been provided for her yet she chooses not to use any tools she's asked for and says she will use to no avail.
So at this point, there's no need to beat ourselves up over it not working. It just is. So now we move to the next step in an informed, controlled and methodical manner to see if it will work. If not, then we go to the next step and so on.
I hope your difficult child continues to improve. You didn't mention if he was violent and harming others. I hope not but if he is, I hope your home is a safe and functioning one for everyone involved.
Peaceful, we have the same objectives for our difficult child's- stability, typical life, being able to live in the real world when they're grown, etc. I hadn't posted before because sometimes I just read a thread to see if I can get some ideas that will help or to prepare myself for what "stage" might be next for difficult child, but I know the exact situation is too different from ours for me to offer an opinion. Such was the case here. You have 2 parents and 2 children in your household-with difficult child being a female; we have 1 parent, 1 child here with difficult child being a male. Those are the major differences I see and I truly understand that the dynamics in our house are different from yours, and even if they were the same, all of us on this board have households that function a little differently from each other. I can't begin to know what it is like to live in your house. And I truly can't understand what it would be like to worry about one of my children hurting another one of my children.
That being said, I do know what it is like to worry about my son killing himself, doing something so outrageous that it resulted in his death or serious injury to someone else, doing something so erratic that he ended up locked up the rest of his life, burning our whole neighborhood down, etc. Trust me here, I know what worry is.
I think the difference is that where I see the responsibility that I want my difficult child to be able to live up to when he's grown, and I understand and have explained to him that this world will not change to accommodate his needs, insecurities, etc., as an adult- I also see where he is emotionally, mentally, and maturely right now. I don't see it as my obligation to make him meet the expectations I have of him as an adult right now. I see my obligation as helping him to bridge that gap between where he is now and where he should be as an adult. The Explosive Child and a couple of other books, along with people on this forum, and just some real soul-searching has left me feeling like this time on probation is probably his last at home and my last opportunity to get him help at home and I need to "pull" him over here as much as possible- not "push" him over there. I realize that I can't make every choice for him and I can't control this outcome. But I'll do the best that I can to keep him on a typical typical teen track because even if he slides backwards at some point (in all likelihood he will), the more days he lives a "typical" life, the more likelihood there is that he can regain his footing and be helped along the path that I hope he chooses, even if it's someone later on in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or psychiatric hospital that helps him.
I believe we have the same objective, we just see the path differently. What works for one might not work for another. Listening to what's going on with difficult child over a dinner out goes a long way with my difficult child- this might not work with yours- Know what I mean?? There are a lot of people on here with much more experience than me and I am learning from them, too. It's hard many times. The thread just left me with a vision that you were not only expecting your daughter to live up to ideal expectations of an adult, but ideal for a easy child adult, and it would be impossible for her to do that, given where she is emotionally/mentally/maturely right now. I didn't have the impression you were abusive, or neglectful, just really PO'd at her and consumed with that.
Sorry for being so opinionated-I'm not always right and blurt things out sometimes-
KLMNO, I understand. Please understand we've been dealing with this since she as 3, officially since she was 6. She has tried to commit suicide twice at 7 and 8. For this reason we started her treatments very early in a very agressive way because her life depended on it. I've pretty much allowed the professionals to set the expectations given her disorders. Then I support those based on experience. I agree with them so far.
I expect to live in a house that's safe for everyone, including her. She cannot take that right away from any of us. If she chooses to do so, we have to take away some rights from her. Violence is not an option.
I'm glad you haven't gone thru what some of us have. It's scary and frightening. We've already been told by social services that if we can't keep my son safe, he'll be removed (after daughter made a false allegation 1 1/2 yrs ago). He's kept safe accordingly now. I think it's definitely a different story when there's more than one, you're right about that.
I've "pulled" daughter ttowards us for the past 8 years. She's choosing to go the other way. It's sad but it's true. Hopefully the trend will stop and the courts can help us get her back here in her heart and mind.
I have been where you are at. It wasn't that long ago that I found myself cowering on the garage floor as difficult child was standing over me trying to pry the car keys from my hand car and striking out at me in any way she could. I laid on that floor crying for an hour, begging her to stop. That was only one example. I could mention all the times we were driving along the street or highway and she would throw things at me or open up the car door and try to jump out. Or the time she overdosed on advil and we had to take her to the hospital or when she came home from a party so high we had to call an ambulance and she locked herself in the trunk of our car. Or when she jumped on the roof of my husband's car as he was pulling out of the garage. We have been through h*ll and back with her. And yet all the while I was terrified for her to be taken away from us, I saw no good in that and felt it would be the beginning of the end for any relationship we could ever hope to have. That's not to say that an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is not the correct path for many others. I had a easy child to protect also, but I couldn't even bring myself to mention the word Residential Treatment Center (RTC) out loud. And never said it to difficult child for fear that it would push her even further away.
I understand you have been dealing with this since she was three. For us it started when she was probably 18 months old and steadily got worse, so I've been there.
I'm just not sure that your difficult child chooses to go the other way. She may not know any other way right now. I am not excusing her behavior by any means, just offering a different outlook. My difficult child was in such a negative pattern for so many years that she didn't know how to get out of it.
I have used so many professionals over the years that I had to make a list of them once and it surprised even me. I didn't feel like any one of them had the answer for us. They all just did the best they could. I never put much stock in their expectations or their plans. They weren't living with her. But I will say that almost all of them worked very hard to keep the level of anger and frustration in the family down. None of them ever pushed an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), in fact said the goal was to keep her out of one if at all possible and to teach her and us coping skills. I'm not sure why yours seems to be so much into having expectations of her and if they aren't followed off she goes. That jusy doesn't sound therapeutic.
Perhaps it is your tone of frustration that comes across as your way or the highway. I know I have been there believe me, and I think some members of this board would even say I sounded very much like you at times. But I have found that my difficult child was very attuned to my tone, my attitude, my unspoken word toward her. And at times some of the things you say sound like it is you against her. A very wise therapist once told me to try and put myself in her place and feel that everyone is against you, especially your mom. That a child should look at their mother as someone who will protect them, someone who is in their corner, someone who will fight for them. I understood what he meant. I didn't take it as criticism of me so much as helping me look at things her way. Like I said before it was very difficult to do that at the time because there was so much anger, but we had to find a way.
From the way in which you have said some of the things you did, it makes me feel that you want your daughter to misbehave so you can follow through in the threat of an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), instead of looking for ways to help her succeed. I don't understand you or husband's thoughts on wanting the PO to get the negative information about her asap. We bent over backwards the other way while at the same time letting her know that if she violated any of the rules she would go back to court. I think making swearing an offense to have her go back to court is absurd. Perhaps the court did not mean that literally, and if they did they are not being realistic. It doesn't sound like her therapist is working toward helping her succeed, rather expecting her to behave in a certain way and punishing her if she doesn't. Perhaps her medications need to be changed. If the therapist feels that she is unable to change given the years of therapy and medications and the only help is an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) then it seems like having her go through the justice system is pointless and punitive.
I hope you are not offended by what I have said. You don't need to convince us how bad things are for you or to justify your feelings to us. But you came here asking for advice and those of us who have been here many years have been through all the emotions you have and more and may have some valuable input.
Nancy, I'm sorry to hear about all you've been through. I know many parents in the same boat. You're doing the best you can with what you have.
All I can say at this point is you are wrong on your interpretations of what you're reading. It may be that I'm not communicating clearly. It may be that it's not being read as it's meant. I really don't know. It may be you're not really where we are as you don't have a younger one at risk as well as yourself which changes the entire equation and CPS letting you know they'll be removed is safety isn't maintained. I would not handle the situations you shared in the way you say you did. But my fondest wish is that it did work for her in whatever way you wanted it to.
The bottom line is tone can't possibly be "heard" on an email, or in any written form.
Her therapist is awesome. She has done everything, as we have, to keep her home. So has her doctor. I'm not sure why the magistrate set up the no swearing thing. I have a feeling it's something they'll find hard to enforce, if they can. We had three solid years of stability. Most never see this. That's no fits, no tantrums, succeeding at school, at sports and at socializing. No backtalk, no fighting, no disrespect. What does this tell us? She can do it. She's back on the medications she was on when this happened so we should see some progress soon I'm hoping.
I run a support group for caregivers of those with mental illness. I know it can be difficult to always truly understand what they're going through and I must respect their choices because they live in their homes. Not me.
It is the safe way or the highway here. Yes. I think I've made that clear in my postings. No one is going to fear for their life in our household if it's preventable.
Why in the world would any parent want thir child to misbehave?
Why would any parent not try absolutely everything to help their child to keep them home?
We were told to call the PO when she broke a condition of probation and leave a message outside of normal hours for her so that she has it when she returns to the office. I don't know why they want that but they do and I gave my word (as did my husband) that we would. We try every thing to get her to calm down and succeed to the point of not making her bath, brush her teeth or come out of her room to name a few (if that's what she says she wants).
I guess I'm so grateful for those of you who have offered your experience, strength and hope to me. I really appreciate thsoe of you who've sent me private notes telling me not to get discouraged by the negativity I've received here as well. It was kind of you.
I guess this site isn't for us after all. God has been good to us and given us much support in our families, friends and professionals in our lives. I will take what's been shared here and apply it if it fits and leave the rest as it lays. I hope everyone has success with their difficult children and treatment options for their kids.
Separate names with a comma.