Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KatieMae, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. KatieMae

    KatieMae Guest

    Have any of you had to teen-proof your home? With threats of suicide and running away, we are having to do this and I'd love some ideas if you have them!

    So far we have purchased a large toolbox for knives, knitting needles etc. and a small toolbox for medications and our phones.

    We are putting window alarms on all the windows and doors and have a motion sensor for downstairs while we sleep.

    We are changing the lock on our bedroom door and moving all that we can into our room (computers, game systems etc.)

    The teens room will have a bed(futon), pillow, pillow case and comforter... due to her threats of suicide I've decided not to allow her to have a sheet. I'll also be taking down her sheer curtain panels for the same reason. She will be allowed to have 5 items of makeup, which must stay in a makeup bag in clear sight at all times. (She's been hiding needles in her makeup at the shelter she is at right now)

    You guys have any other ideas?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Be aware that most alarm systems are designed to keep people OUT - not in....so it might not be the most effective choice.

    We chose to use key-locks on all the windows which would allow them to open no more than two inches for some ventilation. difficult child never was able to beat these - so that's good. The downside is you MUST keep the keys on you at all times and be prepared to use them in the event of a housefire or other such emergency. For us, we decided that the odds of difficult child sneaking out and getting into danger were far more than the odds of a fire - so that's the choice we made.

    We also installed a locking door on the hallway which effectively blocked the bedrooms from the rest of the house.

    We perform frequent room searches. And these kids are clever! You are going to have to check under carpeting, in the lining of clothing, inside the mattress and boxspring - any nook or cranny can become a hiding place.

    We also installed a four camera surveillience system...which unfortunately just caused difficult child to move her shenanigans to the areas outside of camera view....so we probably could have used twelve cameras - UGH!!!

    If it sounds like you are going to be a "jail warden"....you are. Many parents here can tell you they spent years walking around with a gient keychain 24/7 in order to keep things safe.

    Good luck! So sorry you have to do this...
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had a bolted safe that was combo lock because mine picked the toolboxes. If you are putting locks on your doors, make sure its a deadbolt because normal inside house doors are too easy to get through. Make sure you keep all car keys away. And car doors locked. Password protect all phones and internet access now...before she gets home. Im gonna assume you have a router so you can password protect at that source so even if you take all laptops and lock them up, should she manage to sneak one in, she cant get on.

    (I am so glad I am past this point...lol)
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Make sure that, with your medications, you lock EVERYTHING up. Ibuprofen and the like, cough syrup, even vitamins can be an issue.

    I gave Onyxx my old electric razor (she killed it) due to her prying apart razors for their blades. I did discover quite by accident that she could not get to the blades on my safety razor - but that's her. Many of our other kids here could.

    Any mirrors in her bedroom can be broken for cutting. Unfortunately, so can light bulbs - and you sure don't want her having candles! Frequent searches are good - check ANY UNLOCKED ROOM, not just her bedroom. Onyxx liked to hide stuff in the sofa, in books on the bookshelf, under the edge of the bathroom cabinet...

    I lock my purse in the car a lot. Or in my bedroom, which has a heavy duty lock because she picked the old one. Deadbolts are your friends. I carry my keys on a carabiner with me at all times. I still can't trust her.

    Household cleaning items such as Windex can be toxic. I use a lot of vinegar-and-water - it'll make her puke, but won't make her high.

    Last spring I purchased a dorm-size fridge for my bedroom due to injectable, EXPENSIVE medications (of mine). I locked the syringes in our digital safe. Cigarettes and lighters stay on the person. Jett's allowance or birthday money stays locked in our room (before locking it up, she stole it from my vanity - More than $40 in quarters, nickels, dimes and $1 bills).

    Utensils, eating or writing: BIG box. Pencils can be a bad thing.

    Sewing and craft stuff... Needles got used for piercings. Amazed she didn't get any infections. Scissors - even kids' safety scissors.

    At one point we even had to lock up Jett's trading cards because she was stealing them and selling them.

    Jewelry, too.

    We set up a motion sensor in the hall. Unfortunately, the first night it got set off by lightning reflecting on the wall.

    Firearms - trigger locks/bolt locks and a locking ammo case. Keep pieces separate! Such as the bolt in one place, ammo another, the rest somewhere else. Again, vehicles are good for say, the bolt (I work somewhere that the rest or ammo is a federal offense if I carry it here, even in my trunk).

    Shoelaces, if you don't want her to have a sheet or curtains. Keep in mind that the comforter can be ripped into strips. Not so easy, but possible.

    There is no way on earth you can get everything. Last week we discovered 2 bottles of cough syrup in the fridge that, by some miracle, she hadn't found. Still wondering about that... They'd expired.

    Oh, yeah - alcoholic beverages! Nuff said.

    We have, besides the mini-fridge and safe, a cabinet for food in our bedroom. If husband and I accidentally locked ourselves in, we wouldn't starve for days...

    Supervision will help. I know it's not always possible (you do have to sleep), but it sounds like you're frightened. Does she have a counselor? Medication?

    Lastly, I'm lending you my Warrior Mom rhino skin... You're gonna need it.
  5. KatieMae

    KatieMae Guest

    Ohhh I didn't even think about under the kitchen sink! And I love vinegar, it's practical and cheap ;) And thanks for the deadbolt ideas, we were going to use simple door knobs with locks.

    We have an entire linen closet in our bathroom inside the master bedroom... I should probably do a deadbolt there too since it houses all my insulin pump supplies and lancets.

    Rhino skin? Is this going to save ME from running away? I sure do feel like it!
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Well, it might not keep you from running away! But it should help you not take it so personally...
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh lordy...simple door locks? She would have been through them in a minute...lol. All that takes is a butter knife or a piece of plastic.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Heck, in enough of a rage all you have to do is turn the door hard and those doorknob locks will open. My husband never has a clue if doors are locked or not - for some reason he manages to use enough force to open the locks with-o realizing they are there, but not enough that it has hurt the doors at all. Wiz could also do this, The rest of us cannot seem to. But an ice pick or thin screwdriver is easy enough to open them with.

    Years ago my gfgbro was sneaking in and out his window so my dad nailed them shut from the outside. Not only is it a fire hazard, my gfgbro managed to pull the nails out and then make the holes just loose enough to stand the nails in so it LOOKED like they were nailed shut but he could still get in and out easily.

    All you can do is your best. Taking the label of unfit mother is just nuts. Most likely they would take your other kids away and leave you with the 16yo because it is hard to find a place for a 16yo, much less one for a 16yo difficult child. You are going to have to be SURE that NONE of the other kids are alone with difficult child. Not even in the same room if there is ANY thought that she might hurt one of them. We had a really tough time when Wiz was younger because he abused Jess very badly. It was so bad that if only 1 adult was home we had to take the same sex child into the bathroom with us or we didn't use the bathroom. I took Jess, husband took Wiz. That way they were not even alone for the 60 seconds we pared using the bathroom down to. Wiz could leave her bruised and/or bloody in less than 30 seconds. We couldn't even have them in the next ROOM - we had to be right in the same room or there were serious problems.

    It is exhausting. in my opinion you will have a far better chance of getting services if she hurts one of the other kids and a teacher or pediatrician or someone reports this as abuse. At that point you may HAVE to move her out of the home, thoguh finding a placement still may not be possible.

    Just DON"T let them label you unfit. You are right, it IS wrong to let that happen, esp as you clearly are NOT an unfit mother. It would just put your OTHER kids into foster homes, not get difficult child out any sooner.

    MANY of us have had to strip our kid's room down to the basics - mattress on the floor, blanket, pillow, 7 outfits of OUR choosing (you do NOT have to provide clothing she likes. You must provide clothing. Period. In foster care they get $50 or LESS twice a year to buy clothes at a thrift store. This includes shoes. If they destroy them, they get to wear them destroyed unless they are indecent. THen they must do without or find $$ on their own to buy new clothing. in my opinion I would get rid of anything she really likes in the way of clothing. You get to pick what you wear and wear what you like when you live by the rules of the family. She does NOT have to have access to computers, tv, the kitchen, games of any kinds, etc.... ALL of that is at YOUR discretion and I would NOT allow it. I esp would NOT let her onine because so many of our difficult children try to meet people they find online and they can end up badly hurt or getting someone to come to the house who will hurt the entire family. Be aware that MANY game systems can access the internet.

    You may have to lock up parts of any game systems to keep her off of them. Passwords are not always enough. We had to take the keyboard and many mice away if we wanted difficult child to stay off the computers. I would work to figure out what car parts or wires you can easily disconnect and reconnect and do that every night so that she cannot take the car out. ESP if she has had any driving lessons, or shows any joyriding tendencies.

    I am sorry you have to go through all of this. Be SURE to keep your insulin supplies locked away. A safe is a good investment, esp if there is any hint that she may have friends who use drugs or that she has tried them.

    (((((hugs))))) Parenting our difficult children is NOT for the faint of heart.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I would also request a repeat meeting with "the team" or preferably, the team's bosses, and go through these practicalities with them. Make sure they realise you know your rights as well as your responsibilities. Make it clear that all you MUST provide is not going to be enough for this difficult child and is way less than they have insisted you provide. Ask them to step in personally to help make up the difference. Of course, this comes with personal responsibility for what difficult child will do with the extra rope they want her to have...

    Then after they have finished choking, ask them NOW for some PRACTICAL support. And if they say they can't provide it, ask them who will. Then ask them which congressmen or which media network is likely to give you the most coverage on this appalling lack of services.

    They were playing on your sense of guilt and concern. Unfair and inappropriate. You asked for help; they made you feel guilty and bullied you into agreeing to stuff you can't do. So make it clear - you won't. And it is their responsibility if you cannot cope, because you asked them for help and they did not give you what you needed.

    difficult child needs a diagnosis and she needs treatment for it. If she has made it clear that she will harm herself and possibly others if she is sent home, and yet they intend to send her home, than ask them to put in writing that they will take responsibility if this happens. Use this as your leverage. Be prepared to be hard and stand your ground. You are going to have to do this with difficult child so you may as well begin now, with the team.

  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    All that and ... hide your credit cards. I had to deal with-that one 2 wks ago. Sigh.
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I don't know whether this is a US thing....but this is EXACTLY why the team is "reluctant" to label that child with ANYTHING! Dollars to donuts the medical chart is written as a CYA document....and does NOT state that the child has Conduct Disorder or is a likely threat to herself. I'm sure that the chart reflects that the child is stable upon discharge....and that the parent was the one most likely to exacerbate any problems.

    We sat in the office at the psychiatric hospital arguing that difficult child was not ready to be sent home. The discharge nurse handed us a pamphlet with the "warning signs" of suicidal intent - and we pointed out that difficult child was still exhibiting THREE of the warning signs as she sat there in the office! But...we were told there was nothing they could do and we needed to find help elsewhere.

    The truth is that this is a funding issue. The psychiatric hospital reached the limit of what they could provide. The county facility did not have the funds to help us. This is why parents are being advised to let the kids "run wild" in the hopes that Department of Juvenile Justice will pick up the tab for services. Meanwhile, Department of Juvenile Justice is not in the business of rehabilitating kids with MH issues and is just as likely to send the kids home to the custody of the parents.

    This is the trouble all over....
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If someone else is trying the CYA route, learn from their tactics and do it back. In other words, document. If your child says she will kill herself. ask her to repeat it into a tape recorder (use your mobile phone to videotape it if necessary). SHow them at the team meeting and make it clear - you DO have evidence of her threats and the cost to help her now will be far less than the cost of the bad publicity and lawsuits afterwards. They are a psychiatric hospital, they have a job and a responsibility. If they continue to actually insist that you lie about your status as an unfit parent in order to access help, go to the media. Or threaten to. But if you make the threat you have to be prepared to follow through. The angle with the media - my child is a serious risk to herself and to others (here is the evidence), the system knows this but claims to be powerless to help, unless I falsely claim myself to be an unfit parent. This is supposed to be a country with high standards of care - why is such a farce possible?

    Documentation will work for you. That includes ensuring you have the hard evidence that she is a danger. CPS surely will provide access to their files, especially if you give permission (since the case was quickly declared to be unfunded, that shouldn't be a problem for you) to show that she is making wild and false allegations,adding to your load of problems. But false accusations do not equate with false threats. So if someone tries to say, "Well, she has a history of lying. She lied to CPS, therefore she's probably lying about the self-harm," the two do not go hand in hand. It's not a history of lying she has, but a history of doing her utmost to hurt other people. Calling CPS was a direct attack. If she is sent home, she has threatened more physical attack. There is no reason to doubt it.

    These people are playing hard ball, but they need to be tied down. If they refuse to sign an acknowledgement of responsibilty in the event of something going wrong, then try my option (which I've used to document meetings which are deliberately non-minuted). I take my own minutes, I email them off to every person at the meeting (or I send them somewhere central and ask the copies to be forwarded) and I add at the end, "I believe my notes to be a true and accurate record of our meeting. If you do not agree, please reply within X amount of time by return email. If I do not receive any written replies to the contrary, these notes will be taken as correct."

    In that note you make it clear - you have told them that you are holding them responsible if anything goes wrong with sending her home. Also make it clear that you were asked why you did not want to declare yourself an unfit parent, when such an option would make services available for you and your daughter. Be very careful to only state what was actually said, and don't put any of your own interpretation on it.

    If you felt overwhelmed at this meeting and were unable to recall accurately what was said (not surprising, it is a common tactic to keep parents off balance, it stops parents getting in the way of what the 'team' wants), learn from it and next time, make notes. If that slows down the meeting, don't let them fluster you into speeding up. Take your time. Your child is too important, you can tell them, for things to be rushed and handled in a slipshod fashion.

    Whatever their 'needs' to CYA, these people can be, and must be, held accountable.

  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    One more thought - you may have to document that you have in fact shown the evidence (ie the film of child threatening self-harm) to the psychiatric hospital team. So you may have to email the video clip. If you have to, do so. You could even add, "Here is a copy of the clip I showed you all at the meeting." You also may need to find your own legal representation, preferably someone experienced in this area. Yu can bet the psychiatric hospital will call in their lawyers when you begin to mention legal liability if she follows through on her threats at home. I know lawyers are expensive, but if it does the job and can make these people treat the girl and not simply wash their hands of her...

    And DaisyFace, it's not just a US thing. It is a bit more complex here, because treatment here is covered by national health insurance but administered by individual hospitals. Our national insurance is covered by the Health Insurance Commission who have been known to go for the jugular with any service provider who "over-services" in any way. So they tend to err on the side of extreme caution. But I have been known to directly contact Health Insurance Commission and get a clearance. It makes the doctors very nervous, but if I'm armed with correspondence from them authorising the doctor to order the tests, then NOT ordering the tests can also lead to the doctor being investigated. And these guys are like the Spanish Inquisition, doctors do not want to come to their attention in any way because they never let go. You guys don't have the Health Insurance Commission but you do have congressmen and the media. But like any weapon, it has to be used at the right time and with confidence. There's no point brandishing a broadsword if you're not prepared to use it when it comes down to it. And there's no point saying, "I have a broadsword," if you're not strong enough to lift it! Which is when you may need to hire your own mercenary... to keep the analogy going.