Questions for parents of those who been there done that....


New Member
My difficult child is 17, almost 18, he is in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and due to come home in Nov. I just have some questions for the more experienced. Bare with me please.
difficult child has has 2 home passes in the past month, part of his level, and when he is home I really see no change to his behavior. Still going wanting to hang out with the wrong crowd, totally recking the bedroom he shares with his younger brother, not wanting to spend any time with anyone except those dead beat freinds, and this last time I saw him bring the anger back when I suggested we do something different when he's home the next time. Something he hates-camping. (only over night just to have some family time) We were to go this past visit but the weather was crapy.
Now my questions.....1. Did you ever feel, even though you love your child that you are not wanting them to come home? 2. Am I a horrible person for wanting him to stay until he turns 18 (May)?
3. Would I be wrong in putting him out once he turns 18 if things are the same?
I really don't think with the way he STILL is after 6 months he and I can live in the same house. We have balance now and even him come home for even a weekend just throws everything off. His brothers (19 1/2 and 13 1/2) don't even want to be here when he comes home for visits.
I hate myself for feeling this way but I don't know if I can deal with this anymore. This has been going on for the past 5 to 6 years.
Any advice at all would be helpful.

This must be hard for you. Don't blame yourself or feel like a bad person. You have to do whatever it takes to preserve peace in the family unit.

Considering how close he is to 18, I would certainly consider that if it were an option.



New Member
Hey Tracy, fellow nurse. it took me a long time to come to this but I decided I can only handle what I can, which doesnt nec go with what God says,"I wont give you anymore than you can handle".

I would speak with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and see what he has been exhibiting there, and see what is the same, or not. Maybe you need to get the list of rules they have there, that he will need to exhibit at home, in order to earn priviledges. This means then you need to see if not, can he go back, are you willing to try this, and what the alternative plans are esp when he is 18?



Active Member
When my daughter would come home for visits (she spent 16 months in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) she was not allowed to hook up with her 'old friends'. It was a part of her home plan.

Personally I would try not too worry too much about the messes. Even easy child's are messy. LOL. Unless there is destruction ... try to cope with wet towels, etc.

I would talk to the staff and let them know what your sense is based on your home visits. They should be able to address these things.

Based on our experience ... kids don't always come home "fixed" from residential treatment. The most these programs can do is introduce our kids to some tools and coping techniques. Some kids pick them up and use them ... others sadly do not. Our daughter had serious struggles when she returned home. I tell you this so that you can prepare yourself.
Hi, and welcome to the site.

Is it possible for you to present your difficult child with the rules of the house before he is discharged?

And in addition to house rules, to present your expectations regarding school/work/driving and insurance?

Our goal for the kids, wherever they have been, is to help them achieve the tools they will need for a successful life. If difficult child says right up front he will not cooperate, then I think you need to lay out the consequences for him now, when there are therapists there to help him with other choices he might make.

From the way you are describing the situation with your son, it does not sound like you hold out much hope for a successful transition.

How DO you feel?

What would your best case scenario look like?

Have you been clear with your son about your expectations once he is home?

It is best to be proactive.

Others of us will be along soon with different advice. :smile:

Again, welcome.



Active Member
tell his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) you do not think he is ready to return home. ant's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) was willing to keep him til 21. I should have let them.


Well-Known Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: tracy551</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
Now my questions.....

1. Did you ever feel, even though you love your child that you are not wanting them to come home?

2. Am I a horrible person for wanting him to stay until he turns 18 (May)?

3. Would I be wrong in putting him out once he turns 18 if things are the same? </div></div>

1) Yes. I want him to come home, but not if he has not changed. He is not welcome under the current circumstances.

2) No. That seems very reasonable.

3) No. See #1

I really believe that thy need to want to be home, and they have to show it by participating in our lives. Yours isn't.


I agree with Goldenguru. You should be letting the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) know how home visits are going. It sounds as though they might rethink his level based upon what's going on. There's nothing like logical consequences levied by someone other than ourselves to get the point across to them that it's not just their idiot parents who don't know a thing...

Good luck to you.
I agree with let him stay until the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) feels like he is ready to come back into home and society. It is hard for them and for your family especially if you dont see much improvement. It just sets up for failure especially if he wants to hang with old friends - it will only get worse. My son did that very thing. We took him back many times from rehabs, etc. and he went back to his old friends. We even moved about 15 minutes away from the old friends and he walked there. I can tell you that unless they want to change you are not doing them any favors by letting them come home. I am in a situation right now. My 24 year old son is home temporaily. He is right back where he was when he left. He was in jail for 52 days for possession of marijuana at work. Lost his 40hour a week job. He was living in a dump with some friends - he lost his job at Pizza Inn and we let him come home because he had probation meetings, vocational rehab meetings, etc. Also it was his birthday. The place he was living had no car. Sooooooooo he is still smoking pot even though he is on probation - taking his prescribed prescription of Xanax from his Doctor and pain pills for his wisdom tooth that is killing him - dentist also prescribed him antibiotic. He needs treatment for drugs. He has been to a correctional facility for 10 months on Youthful Offenders and various other programs - it is a nightmare. I dont wish that for you. I am waiting to see what is going to happen if he doesnt pay his fines. He has no job now. Sometimes I feel so bad for him and want to fix it. I have tried for years. It doesnt help him but it tears my heart out as a mother. I know how you feel. Right now he is passed out on my bed. I am a teacher and my husband is an engineer. I cannot quit my job. I just got it. I havent taught school in 10 years. How can I baby sit him during the day at home. It doesnt seem fair. He needs to go somewhere that someone can take him to his drug classes, probation, a job and GED classes but he doesnt want not to be able to take Xanax. Which is highly addictive and all people like it.


New Member
Thank you all for your advice!!! I have tried to contact his new couselor this week but he was at some sort of update training seminar. He received a new counselor when he was moved to the new dorm area. His old counselor was very good but I think alittle too soft on difficult child.
My main problem still after all of this is when i talk to difficult child I still have the soft spot for him despite everything. yes I know I'm mom and mom's have that but I could just kick myself in the :censored2: for letting him get to me.
He does excellent at the ranch, no problems what so ever. It's just when he comes home. I tell him I do not want him around so and so, but he dos it anyway. Just like before when I'd tell him he was grounded and he couldn't go anywhere. As soon as I would so much as go to the bathroom he'd run out the door.
I know difficult child has issues, but alot of the times I believe it's me who needs to be "fixed" That I'm the one with the problem and not him. :hammer:


(the future) MRS. GERE
Tracy, you need to tell his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) how poorly his home visits are going. We had a written questionnaire we had to fill out when Rob came home. His level at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) partly depended upon how well/poorly his visits went.

And we could also refuse home visits. I would consider that also, if I were you.

No way would I want him home permanently if he won't even behave himself as a "guest."

When Rob left the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) he went to a group home for another year. Can something like that be arranged?



Well-Known Member
As one who survived the "I Threw My Kid Out" (no, it wasn't easy--it was the hardest thing I ever did), I tend to think hardball works better than softball with difficult children. My mommy softness didn't help my daughter one bit. In fact, she exploited it. I don't know if I ever would have thrown her out of my house if we hadn't gone away overnight (the entire family, except for her) and surprised her by coming home early and finding her and her druggie friends all over the trashed house high as kites. I detached then and there and laid down some hard rules. She either went to rehab, worked the program, and followed our house rules or she had to leave our home. I could see that her having a nice, comfy, warm house and lots of good food was enabling her lifestyle. Yeah, she could turn on the charm and stare me in the eyes and lie and say she'd changed. Of course that only made it more devastating when we found drug paraphernalia stashed in her room (she had no privacy--after her second parole we told her we would freely look in her room and read her diary and computer stuff at our will). We were lucky. We found out she was planning on running off to Colorado to be with a guy she'd never met. We derailed that by calling him--she had his number in her diary.
My daughter chose to leave and swore at us and said she'd never speak to me again, and I cried for three straight weeks. Well, she straightened her life out, and, in the meantime, while she was sorting out her life, my two younger kids weren't subjected to her rudeness and tantrums and the cops visiting our house. Now she is twenty-three and a different young adult. She doesn't do drugs anymore, even quit smoking cigarettes, has a nice boyfriend, a good job, and we are best friends. I am convinced that cushioning our difficult children actually harms them--they are difficult children, after all, and will take what they can get. With no incentive to change because we'll pick them up when they fall, they DON'T change. I personally never used an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but do feel that some parents have unrealistic expectations of RTCs. Many are holding facilities for kids who are too dangerous or self-destructive to live at home. They may do better in a very structured setting, then come home to the real world and remain unchanged. Some kids may really get a lot out of RTCs, but I really think most don't change that much, and they are, unfortunately, not with the nicest kids while they are at the RTCs. So if your difficult child is the same now as he was before, I would stop praying for a miracle and plan a realistic course that is the best for your family. I can't speak about what that is because each family is different. My daughter was eighteen when she chose to leave rather than get help and follow our rules. I've never been sorry we made her go. Prayers and hugs to you and yours. I know how hard it is--do I ever!


New Member
I have a very limited experience with an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but I'd be surprised if most didn't operate in the same general way for accreditation.

1. Do you have family therapy time? This would allow you to share your concerns with your son while a therapist/counselor is present to discuss the different behaviors your son displays. He's talking the talk at Residential Treatment Center (RTC), but walking a different walk while at home with you.

2. There should be a "home visit survey" for you to complete at the end of each home visit for the staff at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). They need to gauge what is going on at home, too.

3. Don't expect miracles. N* has been home for almost two months now, and asks frequently if I have noticed the changes she has made. I tell her that I see that she's completing her homework on the days she makes it to school. I don't see her going to school when she is the least bit under the weather. I still see notices that she arrives to a lot of classes late. I still see the unfinished chores when I come home from work. The change that I don't mention to her, is that I've noticed she doesn't explode when I say no to a request. That is one of the more positive changes she came home with.

4. Does your son have a case manager involved who can provide both you and him options available to him if he doesn't return to live with you? Since N* was placed at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) by the court, there were other group homes, supervised independent living, and perhaps a foster home setting presented as available options.

You're not a bad mother if you don't want chaos and destruction to take over your life and the lives of the rest of your family. Work on detaching.


New Member
you are in no way a bad mother for not wanting him home. This is not your fault. You have not caused your difficult child to have the issues he has, but like all of us, you have probably enabled him for many years. That is what you need the help with. You need to learn how to stop enabling him and let him know who is making the rules. The fact that even on home visits you tell him he can't do something and he dissapears as soon as you leave the room tells me he certainly should not be coming home to live. Unless things can change for you and how you react to him, 5 minutes after he gets home everything he learned in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will be reversed.

You only have 2 short months to find a solution. Get yourself into some intense counseling for you, not for him. Decide what you can handle when he comes home and what you expect from him. Then you need to be prepared to follow through and let him know what is expected and if he can't live by those rules, he will be asked to leave. If you don't feel you can do this, then don't let him come back home.

I kicked my son out 2 years ago last month. He was 18 years old and an active heroin addict. I enabled him for years to live the life he was living. Once I stopped allowing him to live that way in my home and stopped enabling him, that was when he was able to change his life. I always thought my son wasn't even capable of making his own bed. This month he has been one year clean, lived in a soberhouse for almost a year, works full time and just moved into his own apartment with his girlfriend. His apartment is spotless as was his room at the soberhouse. He was capable of doing all the things I thought he couldn't do, but I didn't know that until I gave him the chance to prove it to himself and everyone else.

You almost MUST think of the other 2 who live home with you. They don't want to be there when he's around, so how will that effect them if he moves back home. He will not only be destroying his own life if he isn't ready to change, but he will be destroying yours and the other two also.

Get some counseling. If there are drugs involved get to alanon. Don't let your mommy heart just allow him to come home when you haven't seen any changes. he's doing great at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and following the rules because he has no choice, or he can't stay there. Make it be known to him that the same goes for for your home.


I am just writing to say that my experiences have been very similar to the others here. My dtr did great at her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and even when she was home for visits. The consensus was that she would succeed when she came home. Well, she fell back into her old patterns and was worse than ever.

My experience is like Midwest Moms. My dtr manipulated and exploited every situation unless I was really hard. When I was angry I could be ruthless but then I would feel sorry for her and that's when I enabled her. Any time I softened just the least little bit she took advantage of it.

My dtr did not change until it was clear to her that she could not come home again and that we were through supporting her financially. When she got this message through her head (and I guess she must have known that I had truly reached the end of my rope with her) she decided she would have to pick up the pieces of her life and do it on her own.

Please do let your son's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) know what is going on at home during these visits. Our dtr had rules to follow and she absolutely could not have contact with the old crowd. In fact, the time at home was supposed to be for reconnecting with her family, very limited contact with any friends and only under supervision. Kids from her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) who violated rules while home (even very minor rules) had consequences when they returned to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

My dtr thrived in the structured environment and made great strides but couldn't translate them into success at home. She did get control over her anger and we did not see rages anymore. I think she is using what she learned from her Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and rehabs but she wasn't willing to do that til she absolutely had to.



Active Member
"He does excellent at the ranch, no problems what so ever".

So, my read here is that he is capable of submitting to authority and boundaries. He is just choosing NOT to in your home.

Which is a way different scenario than the child that is acting out wherever he/she is.

It sounds as though your son is thumbing his nose at you. Probably biding his time at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I'd be reconsidering a homecoming.


Oh, just wanted to add that I was not especially looking forward to difficult child coming home--it was so nice without her there and knowing she was safe somewhere else. Also, her younger sister did not want her home and she had good reason for that--she had been abused by difficult child 1 and did not feel secure with her there. difficult child 1 came and went for awhile and this was really hard on difficult child 2. She never knew when difficult child 1 would decide to come live with us and she couldn't address her dissociative symptoms in such an uncertain environment. I felt empowered when I finally decided that difficult child 2 had to come first. She had come second for so long because she was such a "good" kid for so many years. I kept focusing on difficult child 1 and trying to help her and save her from herself. When I decided that difficult child 2's needs came first and that her need was for her sister to be out of her life I found the courage to let go of difficult child 1. Please don't let your difficult child's siblings take a back seat--they have the right to live in a nourishing environment.


New Member
"Now my questions.....1. Did you ever feel, even though you love your child that you are not wanting them to come home? 2. Am I a horrible person for wanting him to stay until he turns 18 (May)?
3. Would I be wrong in putting him out once he turns 18 if things are the same?
I really don't think with the way he STILL is after 6 months he and I can live in the same house."

1. Yes, I felt for a long time I didn't want difficult child in the house....still do!
2. You are not a horrible person, you are a good person in a horrible situation.
3. It would actually be RIGHT of you to put him out at 18, if he can't follow the rules.
Sounds like he is "coasting at Residential Treatment Center (RTC)". They do their time then they go home......

Melissa :angel: