The School Is Lying for Him

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Tuesday night my husband gave difficult child $120 to give to his driver to school because husband had to go to a very early business meeting and couldn't give it to him himself.

    difficult child brought back a receipt that evening for $100 Wednesday evening. Yesterday the school, a therapeutic military school that receives special funding from the state for ESE student with behavioral problems, called husband, "I thought you were going to send $120, not $100."

    husband explained difficult child took the extra $20, and also that same day threw away some clothes, shoes, and again put his GPS in the dishwasher. The school listened and said they'd talk to the head of the school and have her call husband back.

    She called back about 15 minutes later, "Oh sorry, we found the money. You did send $120." My husband had a funny feeling they were lying, but...

    Then last night we found the extra $20 in his bed.

    difficult child convinces EVERYONE that we are so horrible, that we beat and punish and starve and whatever. He has an absolute genius for bringing out the co-dependent in people. Do these people really think they are helping him?

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Is there any way of getting difficult child into a long-term residential treatment program? I'm not sure you're going to be able to make any progress until he has the opportunity to be observed for a while and the behaviors begin to surface in the new setting.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that first off I would be calling the school, letting them know you found the $20 (if you are absolutely sure that is where the $20 you found came from), and ask them why they covered for him? I would want an answer to that first.

    I'm sorry that I cannot remember but how long has son been in this current placement? Is there any progress as all? If not, I believe a call to his psychiatrist is in order to begin researching where you go from here. Sounds like smallw is right, he probably needs to be in a setting where all his behaviors can be monitored and observed. A military enviornment for behavior issues may not be the right fit for a child with a whole list of mental disabilities. Structure and discipline are not going to work and are not going to give him success for the future.

  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    WSM, I hear your frustration.
    I agree with-Sharon ... call the school and tell the same person you spoke with that you found a $20 bill. Then be quiet and let them talk. :)
    I agree that a military setting is not the best place for a child with mental, emotional, chemical and neurological issues. It's a stop-gap measure.
    I would be making plans for a different type of living environment. What a military environment offers is structure, which is essential for our special kids. However, your son is not being assessed or helped with-behaviors that are specific to his needs other than structure.
  5. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I don't know if we are going to do much about the school. We don't have many alternatives; we are afraid to put him into the public school until we are sure he isn't going to provocatively take another weapon to school all while pretending it was 'planted' on him. It's worked 4 times before, or so it seems to him, and it's worth a lot of excitement and attention--but if he does it again it's automatic juvenile detention for him.

    We don't think this school will call the police if he brings a knife or other banned substance to school--they won't want to lose the $2,100 a month the state pays them for an easy to manage student.

    They think I'm a cold rejecting stepmother and my husband is an indifferent and harsh father and this poor little boy is starving for affection and attention and only does this stuff because he's desperately acting out. When they talk to him, he says, he doesn't like me and wants to do things alone with his dad, for his dad to take him places alone, etc...

    When his dad does these thing, difficult child later sabotages the effort.

    difficult child earned a 3 week summer wilderness camp with these latest stunts. husband was waffling ("It's so hot in middle Florida in the summer"), but now husband just wants a break. He said: "I've been dealing with this for seven years now; I just need a break".

    We are hoping to have him put in the public school district's alternative school for behavioral problems. It's strict, there are lots of therapeutic resources, and they will watch him closely. He qualifies because he was supposed to be mandatorily expelled with any of his four weapons in school charges. But the school has to refer students, and his old school also felt/feels very sorry for him and thinks the alternative school is 'horrible and nasty' and won't. My husband is thinking of appealling to the District Superintendant.

    The military school is not well run. The people are well intentioned, but are dealing with a different demographic--almost all the other families are on welfare, for example--so when the school is cancelled at the last minute, or sends students home early it's not a crisis as it is in our house. The other parents are not educated as we are, and look to the staff as saviors--we are pretty dom sceptical, better educated, and don't take the staff recommendations as word of God. The staff resents that.

    They want our money tho, and we want a safe place to put difficult child until we can find something else. He belongs in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but we can't afford more than about $300 a month and there are none that cost only that. None.

    Because difficult child is so good at conning people into feeling sorry for him, we can't get any interest in the officials to help us place him. They keep trying to tell us all difficult child needs is to spend some special time alone with his dad--and we keep telling them when that happens, difficult child sabotages it.

    It seems NOBODY will listen to us. This kid is a master manipulator.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I would arrange to have frequent, quiet meetings with the school to tell them exactly what you tell us, and to also get them to tell you what they think, based on what difficult child tells them. Let thim think you're cold and that husband doesn't spent time with his son. What they think doesn't matter, not in terms of your self-esteem. But then without getting angry with them (because you know how persuasive the kid can be) explain your side. Ask their advice. Let them know that you are aware he hates you but you're still there at the school trying to find ways to get through the barrier. let them know that husband does make efforts to spend time with him, but difficult child sabotages it. Ask their advice on how husband can get through to his son. Ask their advice on how to prevent difficult child from throwing away his clothes, his toys etc and then telling other people that someone else did it.

    You know the staff aren't up to scratch at this school, but don't let thme see you feel this. By asking their advice, you're making thme feel as if you need them. You're also making them feel important, of use and listened-to. You're also making it clear that you WANT to help this kid but you feel out of your depth.

    If you try to handle it any other way - such as by making it clear that you are on to this kid, you know he's trying to con everybody and you have superior knowledge - you will only make them MORE resentful, give them MORE reason to find you lacking as parents, and also give them more reason to invest in difficult child's version of events.

    So go to the school, act like you're at the end of your tether, you've tried everything. Sit with the staff, all of you as a team, and brainstorm what you can do for difficult child. Even when they make idiotic suggestions nod andsmile and look like you're giving it serious consideration. if it's something you tried already, try to sound tentative when you say, "Would that be like the time we did this? because what happened then was such-and-such. Then there was the time we tried it again, and got X asa result. Can you see how we could have done it differently? Maybe there's something else we haven't thought of. What do you think?"

    You have two possible outcomes from all this.

    1) The school will feel vindicated, but will also begin to see that you have done more for this boy than they thought. But you may all begin to fele there is not much left tat you can do.


    2) The school may treat you a bit like an idiot, but at least they won't be so down on you. They're also more likely to feed you true information on things difficult child may be doing wrong at school, because they're sure as H not doing that now. And you NEED that info, so you won't get caught by surprise with what difficult child does next.

    It's better for the school and staff to think you're idiots but well-meaning, than to think you're callous, cold, indifferent and that difficult child is a lovely kid who is abused. Think - Columbo. By seeming to be an idiot, he got a lot more information out of his witnesses than he ever would have if he showed them how smart he really was.

    I've mentioned in other threads how to dress for a school interview - my suggestion is generally to dress like a Legal Aid solicitor (budget lawyer) - slightly expensive but dowdy. But in this case - you need to dress like the rest of the demographic. DON'T dress like professionals, dress like a housewife. If you go there from work, make a point of kicking off your work shoes, or changing down into something a bit more relaxed. Give them what they are familiar with, do your utmost to not intimidate them (speaking from experience, I know I can be very good at intimidating people, I have to sometimes work at NOT intimidating people). This is not a time, in your case, to look like "old money". Instead, go for the wage slave assembly-line worker look. Make it clear that you HAVE to go out to work to pay some nasty bills, and your boss is one thread away from firing you for all the time you are taking off to deal with the school. But of course, you will take that risk for difficult child because he is your husband's darling son. However, you need to keep your job in order to help pay the school fees. Or somesuch.

    But grovel if you must. Bow to their superior wisdom. Ask teir advice. make it clear they are the education experts. Maybe if we all put our heads together, we can work as a team to help this boy and help everybody else. Home and school as a team, coordinated. Great communication.

    That's why you tell the school that you've found $20 that can't be accounted for, then let them talk. Ask if they have had any go missing, if they don't talk. Ask if they can be certain that he did bring in the $120, or is sime kind staff member perhaps covering for him without realising? (don't ask that l;ast, uless you get absolutely nothing fomr them when you first mention it). Be kind to the school, someone there was trying to be kind to your son. They sound like lovely people - just stupid and very misguided. And enabling. But lovely, kind people.

    Good luck. This needs to be Academy Aawrd material. After you've succeeded with this, go join a local theatre revue group, because you will have all that you require to make it as an actress!

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg is right. It is the ONLY way you are going to get the info you need and get them to recommend him Occupational Therapist (OT) the alternative school. It may not happen this year, but if you play them right you may have it next year. You want them to leave for the summer remembering YOU as the stepmom who wants to help her beloved husband's darling difficult child, and dad as theloving, willing to try anything to help his son. Then the teachers will remember all difficult child's acting out and blaming and they will be a bit more hardened to it and tired of it by next year.