Pfffftttt....well so much for family therapy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child has this therapist convinced that I was breathing down his neck every second and never let him out of my sight even after he'd go months being a easy child and that's what drove him to break the law on every occasion. Never mind that he sat there and admitted that he would not be where he was supposed to be MANY times when he'd go out with friends and not come home on time. Never mind that every time he broke the law, with the exception of the last one, he had been with peers. There are a few other things, too, but I won't list them all.

    She says she does not think he'll do these things again because she does not see anti-social tendencies in him. (I suppose she thinks that a kid is either a easy child or anti-social and those are the only two options.) I said that no decent parent is going to let a young teen go out and do whatever they want without knowing where the kid is and what they are doing- especially one on parole who has done things that difficult child has done. therapist said "well, you can't keep your eyes on him 24/7". I said "no, I can't, but that isn't wwhat I said". She said I should let him go out a couple of hours at a time and it was unreasonable to expect to know what he was doing all the time. I told her to try explaining that to his PO, a GAL, and a judge. I agreed that he was old enough to set his own schedule about getting homework and shower and chores done - then I said I probably would set a "lights out" time though on school nights. She said "No, she didn't think he needed that- she thought he was old enough to let natural consequences take there course if he didn't do what he was supposed to or didn't make good decisions with friends and how he spent his time".

    I told her that if he's supposed to have the freedoms of an 18yo and do whatever he wants, that I was not willing to take legal or financial responsibility for his actions any longer so the only way I saw for everyone to be comfortable with this was for me to talk to go to the judge and see if I could sign it away. She said "Oh, I'm not saying that". Well, what is she saying? We had to end then- we're having another session in 2 weeks but she said she'll call me the middle of next week to discuss this. She said she was sorry I was frustrated because she thought we had been on our way "to negotiating the terms of difficult child coming home". I'm sorry, but who the heck else is going to negotiate every little thing like this for a kid who has done all difficult child has done and Department of Juvenile Justice would not expect anyone else to negotiate it. I said this was all in the past to her and difficult child and they wanted it all forgotten but I'd like to remind them that I am STILL paying $4000 of restitution, had to pay almost $900 to his school, and am still suffering consequences for his actions that he did when I gave him privileges. difficult child said "I didn't say it was ALL your fault." Hummphhh... "Well, difficult child, then what really did cause it all? Do you recall at all telling me that friends had hurt your feelings or that you were trying to get other kids to think you were cool or that you thought this would make others want to play with you?" He says "yes, but they only didn't want to play with me because they thought his mom was too strict". HELLO...telling you to call me when you get to A's house and not wanting you to play with fire or hang out with kids who are cutting themselves or running off to a major highway out of the neighborhood is not too much to expect. therapist: what I hear you saying difficult child is that you would not have done those things if your mom would have let you have more privileges to begin with. And trust me here- she isn't saying this like she's trying to get a point across to him- she's looking at me like she's trying to get me to see that expecting that from him drove him to it or something. I don';t know- I just think he has himself convinced of this and has her snowed.

    Oh- somewhere in there difficult child said that everyone agreed he did very well when in secure environments. I said "yes, and why is it that he always did well in places like that but not at home if I am the cause of all this- which place is stricter, home or in there? And did anyone see them unlocking the door to let him go do whatever he wanted when they are responsible for him? But every time he comes home he does fine for months but for whatever reason, he gets a change in attitude, becomes a different person, and ends up breaking the law again the same time of year for 4 years straight and I'm supposed to believe that I, the one who gives you way more privileges than you get in here, am so strict that this is causing the problem. BS- I don't buy it".

    Well, apparently the therapist does. difficult child looked at therapist and said "she just wants me to go to a group home". I said "I want to get to the root of the problem and I don't think we are there but (looking at therapist then), I can see he has you convinced that I just kept him under my thumb and that's what caused all this. I am not in agreement with that". difficult child said "what difference does it make". I said "because I don't want a repeat". therapist says "I don't think there will be a repeat". So, that's how it is left- my gut tells me she will recommend difficult child not be released to me so he'll either go to a group home- which is doubtful because I can't see Department of Juvenile Justice paying for it when they don't feel he needs it for rehabilitative purposes and everyone knows my bro wants him, so that means DSS, which means my bro. They all think difficult child is a easy child- I told her she didn't know what it was like to have to explain all this when a GAL and PO are looking at you saying "why didn't you know where your kid was and that he was doing this"?

    Anyway...I do not think my expectations were unreasonable for a kid who was 11-13 yo during almost all of this. He had just turned 14yo when he was turned over to Department of Juvenile Justice earlier this year. I simply cannot let this kid come home with him thinking he can tell me that I need to let him do whatever he wants or he'll break the law again and it will be my fault for not letting him do more. Yet, he'd break the law anyway because everyone is convinced it must be me causing it and difficult child thinks no one is going to hold him accountable. I know my difficult child and that's exactly where this would lead.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    As the parent of an 11-12 year absolutely should know where your child is and what theya re doing and who they are with at every moment of every day. If anything happened to that child, it would be squarely blamed on poor parenting.

    At 13-14 years old, we should hopefully be starting to see some signs of maturity, responsibilty and independence...and kids should be given priviledges in accordance with their level of maturity. However, they are in no way, no how, an adult and they are not legally recognized as an adult nor are they afforded the rights, responsibilites and priviledges of an adult--they are still a child and you are still the parent.

    FWIW--I think this counselor you are working with is very misguided and seems to misunderstand the whole situation. I think you are absolutely right to expect to hold this child to some level of "house rules" until he is of the age to be able to be legally on his own. At that point, he is on his own.

    If he is sent to live with your brother, will your brother also be asked to come to an agreement allowing difficult child to come and go as he pleases? What about a group home--would they, too, be expected to allow difficult child that sort of freedom?

    If not, then why are you asked to?

  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Um, so those "things" that sent him there in the first place?
    So he is cured? They fixed him?
    So he is so mature that he is never going to do those kinds of things ever again, and you can just let him run free?
    Great, so then you will not get ANY of the blame when something goes wrong, she will.

    You are absolved of all blame! YEAH!
    She is delusional

    Even if he were to slowly regain some of his freedom, you should be the one to determine this, and only you. With time and with him showing you he his responsible.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    because they are convinced that it is me that caused the problem. Of course a group home would have set rules. My bro would let difficult child do whatever he wanted but my son would mostly likely end up molested there and running away or breaking the law again most assuredly, but then everyone would say "it's because his mother messed him up and then didn't want him back"- and my bro would be the first to say this to difficult child.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah, I'm thinking of asking her to put these suggestions in writing and if GAL and PO sign off on them, as in I am not held legally and financially responsible, then maybe I will consider it. Keep in mind- when my son chose to get up during the night and look up porn on the computer, that was my fault for not screening his actions enough and I had to remove the computer from the house.

    therapist actually told difficult child "you do understand about PO saying you need to be on house arrest for a while, don't you?" Well, if PO thinks he needs to be on house arrest for a while upon his release, then why exactly am I too strict or unreasonable for thinking he doesn't go straight from that to being able to do whatever he wants? So, the only authority he needs is parole? I guess they only want me involved to provide difficult child a place to live, clothes, and food. Oh- and pay restitution and transport him to all required appts.

    Truthfully, I wouldn't be surprised if something went to Department of Juvenile Justice from probation in difficult child's file along the lines of them thinking difficult child's problems were due to me being so strict. I know the probation officer thought I should let difficult child play violent games and not worry about it and GAL blamed me for all difficult child's problems- which she ggot from my bro- then told difficult child it was my fault he was committed to Department of Juvenile Justice. I know for sure that the probation officer sends files and comments to Department of Juvenile Justice when a kid is committed but I'm not sure about the GAL. Anyway, that would explain the therapist's position.

    Things aren't looking good right now re. difficult child's release and where he'll be going. therapist said she was going to email difficult child's CM and asked her to call me about the release date- she said that at the beginning, before all this other stuff was said, but it looks to me now that the CM had been waiting to get back with me to see what therapist recommended. What really bugs me is that the family therapy wasn't supposed to be "negotiating the terms of behavior and expectations for when difficult child comes home" to begin with.

    You know, we've been thru so much therapy it's too predicatble now. First, the issue was day care, then allowance, then what I cooked for diinner, now privileges with friends. Each and every time, some stupid therapist acts like they think if I agree to change those things, difficult child won't break the law anymore. These are typical issues- it is not typical, however, for a kid to break the law over them and when tdocs try to "negotiate" these things, I honestly think it just confirms to the kid that it is justifiable to break the law over them.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You have run across some very whacked therapists. No one has ever suggested to me that I had to allow my kid to have full run of my house. I would have laughed at them. It is not normal to break the law because you dont like the rules at home. That whole conversation is backwards. You will enforce the rules of parole...period. End of discussion with her. I guarantee that parole wont allow him to run loose. Cory is 23 and cant just run loose. He has to check in and ask permission to do things. Now it isnt like he has to call and ask if he can go play with Johnny but he does have to ask if he wants to leave the state. He has a set of things he has to abide by. Same for your son and they will be stricter because of his age. Cory isnt supposed to drink alcohol but they arent going to bust him for drinking a beer or two in his home. Now getting caught drunk and disorderly is another story.

    Speaking of that...funny funny story. Not long after Cory got off his house arrest he was in the grocery store and he decided to buy a six pack of beer along with a frozen pizza. Cory is not a big beer drinker but once in a blue moon he likes one with a pizza. All of a sudden I saw Cory's eyes get big and his face got this sick look on it. He started to back slowly away from his cart. I looked up. There was his PO looking at him. Cory was scared to death that he was busted and going to prison over the beer. PO just kinda smirked and shook his head and said "buy your food Cory." I have never seen a more relieved boy in all my life...lmao.

    Cory's PO is such a human guy. He does him right. He could have busted him a few times for stupid stuff but he knows Cory is working so hard to do well. He is in Cory's corner but Cory respects that man and is very afraid of what he can do.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No kidding, Janet! Besides the parole rules, these people should keep in mind that presumably, my son won't be on parole until he's 18yo. Am I suppsoed to be left in authority of him between parole ending and him turning 18yo? I swear I think they view the parent as just someone to support the child and do what they order- and then they blame the parent if the kid doesn't view him/her as an authority figure- that's when they send in MST or somebody to "teach" you. Well, did they ever think of maybe backing up the parent instead of undermining them?
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I can guarantee you that the therapist does not have kids older than 7 or so. If any at all.

    No way can you accept your difficult child back into the house with the authorities telling him that all his problems are because you are too strict.

    The whole lights out thing would be fine with an older teen, but not with a younger teen.

    NOTHING you can say will clue these people in. Sadly, you are most likely going to have to make some more hard choices. If you move, you can pray that the PO in HI will be more intelligent. Or you can leave him behind for a while in a group home of some kind. But in no way are any of these experts going to ever back you up.

    They never have. They probably never will, at least not in your state. Draw up a list of rules that you feel are crucial. Insist that if he is coming home that these must all be agreed upon by the PO, GAL, difficult child, and anyone else. Keep a couple of items in there you will bend on or give up altogether. It makes them feel they "won".

    Once that is in writing, if everyone agrees, THEN you may have a chance to again have him live with you. If they say you are being controlling or whatever, let them.

    You are not ever going to get any of these people to think he needs any punishment/therapy/whatever to deal with him threatening you, even with a weapon. That one you have to deal with away from them.

    If you get the move to HI I think that you could start over. The new people won't be as prejudiced and may even have common sense. Plus, your bro is NOT going to win them over so they fly him back to the mainland. So they will need to work with you more.

    I am sorry. It just seems like you cannot win. It is pretty much, in my humble opinion, like they totally discount your role as difficult child's VICTIM simply because he is your child. More, though, it is as though they say that his violence toward you was what you should EXPECT. Sadly, this is how they are teaching him to behave. To blame his victim, to get away with all he can, and to then toss it in your face because you truly cannot stop him and the "experts" are actively in your way.

    I just want to spit nails at them. Or have them each spend a couple of months living with an unstable and violent difficult child with everyone around telling them that the gfgness and violent behavior is THEIR fault because they are the victim and they "asked for it" by putting normal limits in place.

    You have my admiration. Given all the abuse this "system" has piled on your shoulders, a lesser woman would have cracked or run away.

    Many many hugs.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you, Susie. As always, your support means a lot to me. The first obstacle of course, is to see if therapist will still recommend difficult child coming home even when I am not going to buy into the theory that me being too strict is the cause of his problems. Second is to get the job in HI. I am sure at this point that I don't want to stay in this area- I just don't have any offers to go someplace else yet.

    difficult child told me the last visitation that even if I had these "strict" rules, he would still rather come home. However, he said he would move out when he's 18 (typical, I know), and looked at me like he was livid. I do honestly believe that therapist is correct in that he is trying, I just think the messages that these people are sending him serve to make him more confused and feel justified rather than keep him on a good track. I know they don't see it and it is BEYOND ME why they don't.

    Anyway, difficult child might throw in the towel soon himself and tell them he just wants to go someplace else besides home.

    Here I deal with one extreme from the sd's psychiatric writing a report like difficult child is a psychopath who's a danger to society to another extreme of his therapist acting like he's a easy child who just was driven to all this by me. And they say parents are at fault for having "black and white" thinking.....
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sending many hugs...your strength through all of this is awesome.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think any set of rules that is made up in therapy now that says that a 14 year old can run loose without a parent knowing where they are is going to be seen as enforceable to anyone. Most cities have their own curfews now anyway.

    Now I dont think you should have rules like you have for a 6 year old but you should have age appropriate rules. We had to keep Cory on a much tighter leash than we kept Jamie. He didnt like it. At 15 Jamie was allowed to go over to friends houses after school as long as he came home for supper or called to tell us he was having supper there. Cory...not on his life! We simply couldnt trust him out of our sight. Jamie was allowed to do the going to friends houses from about age 13 but then his friends were just a handful of boys and mostly they were actually relatives. Jamies best friends were two second cousins. He practically lived at their house during his teen years. I couldnt let Cory do that. Sad but true. I couldnt do it even when he was 17 or 18 to be honest.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    One of the problems with a contract for difficult child is that he goes months and does fine with letting me know where he is, coming home on time, staying out of trouble, etc. Then, whether BiPolar (BP) or attitude or whatever, he starts acting completely different. It is one thing to stick to an agreement allowing him to watch TV during those periods, but I absolutely cannot stick to any agreement to let him go out by himself during those times. The people who have seen this pattern in him understand that- but those, like the current therapist, who insist that because he's done well for the past few months he will never go thru that again, or the typical punishment if he starts down that road will stop any escalation in him just don't get it. I'm not going to argue with this woman about it- I have lived with it and seen the pattern for 4 years. I honestly do hope he's "cured" or "wised up" or grown out of it and that it doesn't ever happen again. But, until I see him go through winter and spring without the the pattern I've seen in him, I will not be sure. If she thinks it has all been a figment of my imagination or that I was just scared of it happening so I drove him to do it, that's her problem.

    I was sure hoping for a therapist who wasn't in denial about this.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well lets just pretend for the sake of argument that we dont have to deal with winter or spring because in essence you wont for this coming year in reality. He will be in Department of Juvenile Justice for winter most likely and on house arrest or intensive parole for all of spring. So we have winter and spring covered really. So that leaves the summer and fall for you to deal with.

    difficult child will follow Parole Requirements.

    Parole requirements will probably be something along the lines of staying in school and getting good grades, regular attendence, no suspensions.
    Follow home rules (they will not get into these in my opinion)
    Any mental health treatment ordered
    Anything else ordered such as community service or mentor

    I dont think they are going to set up a behavioral contract in the parole requirements because that is going beyond their scope. They set up a broad set of rules. Not a minute by minute thing. Its up to you to set the daily stuff and keep track of it. You would know if he breaks your rules and that constitutes a violation of his parole. You would know if they set a curfew and he missed it.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's exactly how I was looking at things before this wonderful family therapist let her objectives known. But now I'm up again because I can't sleep due to worrying about this. I go see difficult child tomorrow- who knows if he's being sincere about this stuff at this point so I am tense over this visit. And, I'm even more worried about the upcoming phone call from therapist later in the week because it will be all I can do not to lose it on this woman.

    If I was to let difficult child come home convinced that all his problems had been my fault, it isn't an illegal activity in the neighborhood I'm primarily concerned about. It is being physically harmed by him or having the house trashed the first time he thinks I'm not lenient enough. Really, if he gets out between mid-Jan and early-Feb., he'll be off house arrest by mid-March. That still leaves him 6 weeks of whatever possesses him that time of year. He's already asked me if he could have friends over while he's on house arrest. I told him I didn't think he was supposed to. He said "well the PO will never know- MOMMMmmmmm- you see- you NEVER let me hang around friends."

    I don't think PO will put a behavior plan in place for home- but, if he comes out of Department of Juvenile Justice with one in place from a Department of Juvenile Justice therapist, the PO (and probably would- especially with difficult child having a GAL who thinks everything is my fault) write in the requirements that we had to follow it. See, when the kid is a minor, the parent has to sign the same documents as the kid stating that the parent agrees to "support" whatever requirements are ordered, and they do effect the parents- it's not all just being there to report the kid who violates. It will be bad enough dealing with it if difficult child pulls the "victim" stuff on the mentor and he believes it- the mentor can have the PO write stuff up for the family, too. So basicly, I am not comfortable bringing difficult child home as long as he has this in his head. It never occurred to me that he'd get a therapist in Department of Juvenile Justice who reinforced it rather than worked with him to not blame others and accept my rules as well as the PO's.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  15. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Does you child (he still is one) have no concept of self control? It sounds like that's what the therapist is saying - he did all of this because of "you".

    If that's the case (he has no self control), why would you GIVE him freedom? If he has no self control, then he needs to have it applied from outside.

    This is so "bass ackwards" thinking I can't wrap my head around it.

    "I can't do what is right because someone else made me do wrong".

    "Oh, I'm sorry, then we must give you freedom and no rules. Then you will obviously do what is right."

    I certainly need some type of explanation on THAT thinking...............
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Skeeter...what a simple explanation of the It is tantamount to allowing a toddler to run loose. We told the tot that cars are out there and that the stove is hot but we shall allow them to just experience things first hand on their would that work out do you think?

    Not too well.

    Same thing applies to all teens, not just difficult child's. You cant just keys are on the hook, my bank card and PIN are XXX, liquor is here, etc and expect that nothing bad is going to happen. It will. You would be lax in parenting your child if you didnt put safeguards in place to protect yourself and most importantly your child from doing things that could be wrong. Dont leave car keys where they can get them, dont let them have access to your bank stuff and for gosh sakes...dont let them into the booze! Know where they are, set up curfews, know their friends! Its called responsible parenting!
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    LOL! I used that EXACT same analogy to the judge and GAL once! And let's not forget- therapist won't be there in court when GAL is pointing her finger in my face expecting me to explain difficult child's next charge or truancy or paorle violation or why I didn't know where my kid was. There's nothing logical about it- if Department of Juvenile Justice can't tell me what they plan for difficult child over the next 3 mos and PO can't tell me exactly what will be in place upon difficult child's release, how the heck am I supposed to be able to commit to how things will be 4-6 mos down the road?

    I started a new thread to update about today's visit.
  18. horserider

    horserider New Member

    OMG, after just returning from a visit with my difficult child, who is also in the jjc, I can relate to your current situation. We had a terrible visit, gave his dad a loving gesture, me no hug - just a disgusted look. Why, because I'm the strict mom who lays down the rules, discipline and my husband is not a "united front" with- me most of the time.

    My difficult child complained what a terrible mom I had been through the yrs. because I would be on his case to much. The old saying, if you just did things expected of you on your own, mom wouldn't have to say anything. What was I supposed to do when difficult child would not get himself out of bed for school, mornings were terrible or when he would NEVER do homework. So I was the bad, nagging mom. husband was always at work so he did not have to face these issues, so he is my son's hero. Good, live with- your dad I thought, I moved out because of the physical abuse and constant swearing at me. I explained to difficult child when I stopped "nagging", let him take responsiblity for his actions about a yr ago, what happened. He was truant to the point of missing more then 30 days of school, did no homework and failed nearly every class.

    I can totally appreciate your apprehension of how things will be when your difficult child comes home. Our difficult child's need structure, rules, etc. but if they do not want to accept the "authority" how are things going to be better when they do transition home?

    Inconsistency has also been a huge factor for us. 4-6 months of out Residential Treatment Center (RTC), wonderful child, then back to his old ways. This has gone on for 3 yrs. He blamed me today for never having a full yr in the last 3 living at home.

    I almost laughed when his therapist tried to enlighten us that our difficult child has trouble respecting authority. Dah....we lived it. He is in a controlled environment now. Not doing well earning his weeks. One of the workers just said this evening to us, in front of my difficult child how much better he was doing. I'm playing the tough love card because he just got into a fight last week and faced re-entry, losing 3-4 earned weeks. And she made me look like the bad guy.

    I am trying to detach and probably will not visit next week as it is just not productive and stresses me out to much. You would think the team that is handling our difficult child's cases would appreciate our rules and how strict we have to be at times. Why don't they take our kids home for a month and see how they handle them?

    I refuse to believe that you or I were not justified in our parenting the way we did. We have a right not to be abused, have our things destroyed and lay down the "rules". They cannot run our homes any longer and make our life miserable. And as with your difficult child, I also hear how it is my fault he is in the program he's in right now.

    Stay strong, take care of yourself. It's good to know I am not alone in these kind of struggles.