Well-Known Member
difficult child and I toured Juv Det Fri the 13th.
We waited in the new bldg, and a man named Ron walked us over to the old facility across the street. He said he couldn't give us a tour of the new bldg for confidentiality reasons (the kids are under 18).
It was satisfyingly morose and draconian.

Peeling paint, the smell of urine everywhere, no windows, 9 X 9 ft. cinderblock rms. with-locks.

Ron brought difficult child in the front door and showed him exactly what would happen if the police were to bring him in. He made him put his hands behind his back like he was handcuffed, and wouldn't let him put his hands in his pockets the entire time we were there. He showed him where the kids are strip-searched, where they are logged into the databanks, where their clothes are taken away and they get orange jumpsuits with-old underwear (he really emphasized that); where they eat, study, play basketball and how they see their parents through a scratched 12" window. (The new facility isn't peeling and smelly, so in fact, the old facility is even better for "Scared Straight" tours.)

He pulled up a chair in a smelly room and asked difficult child what brought him here. difficult child told him he got in fights with-his mom. Ron said, "WHAT? You don't argue with-your mom! Do you know how hard your parents work to buy the clothes you wear?" Etc. He read him the riot act, an almost identical speech to what our child psychiatric said a few wks ago. (I think they send these people to the same schools. ;))

He introduced difficult child to a few employees and told them that difficult child has problems arguing with-his mother. They all shook their heads and told him to shape up. Sometimes we just stood there and all stared at difficult child while he got more and more uncomfortable.
Sounds mean, but he really needed to know what it feels like to be uncomfortable.

Then Ron took us on a ride in the city van to see the East End (our "bad" neighborhood), which difficult child has never seen b4. As it turned out, it was a beautiful sunny day and all the trash was cleaned up. But still, he could see the graffiti and people wandering and hanging out in doorways.

Ron did an excellent job. Bent over backwards to spend time with-us and talk. I was VERY impressed by his concern and attitude and demeanor and... I just can't say enough. (Yes, I'm going to write a thank you note. He deserves a raise!)

difficult child was very quiet and subdued the whole time.

When we left, Ron let difficult child release his hands from behind his back, and shook hands with-him.

When we got back to my car, difficult child was all questions and comments, quite the chatterbox.

Then he started in with-"I know you would never put me in a place like that because it would hurt you more than me. You would never want to see me like that." He went on for a few min., and I finally said, "You think you're pretty important, don't you? You'd better start thinking about how important WE are." He said, "I know, but I know you adopted me because you wanted me and you'd never send me away."


He went back to his old ways immediately, complaining because we were running errands while we were on spring break (it's not my fault his friends were all busy!). He is very negative and a big complainer.
I reminded him that despite the fact it was spring break, he was still on restriction from his last explosion and that his social activities were very limited.

I brought up the subject again that he could only play the last 2 innings of the next few baseball games. (This, on the suggesion of the child psychiatric, as part of his discipline for exploding last time and blocking my way out of his bedroom. husband thought it was a great idea.)

He exploded.

He threw and broke everything in my car--while I was driving. We had just been to husband ofc to p/u difficult child baseball bat and glove, and I made a U-turn while half the planet laid on their horns, and I turned around and went back.
difficult child broke several CD covers, emptied out the glove compartments and threw everything, emptied the ctr console, threw the hand lotion, eyedrops, tore apart brand new containers with-wrappers on them... screamed and yelled that he didn't want to go to baseball anymore (the game was at 5:30), he hated me, hated Dr. Riley, hoped I got run over and killed by a car.
I was driving and the traffic was heavy so I couldn't do much to stop him.

I called husband to tell him I was on my way back.

It took us a few min. to get difficult child out of the car... husband finally dragged him out, then squatted on the grass and talked to him. (I called later and husband had 30 patients waiting and he was way behind for the rest of the day. I felt badly, but there was no way I was going to keep difficult child with-me after that. He'd threatened to break all his glass snowglobes he'd earned back, break the computer, etc., plus, the last time this happened, I lost 3 hrs of work and I hate to say it, but husband needs to have the point driven home, that yes, you do lose important work time when difficult child acts up and this is a serious issue.)
difficult child didn't want to go in the clinic, but it's scary, on a busy street, so husband made difficult child promise to stay put. Turned out he stayed outside and steamed for an hr!
When he finally went in, husband pd him $1/hr to shred paper and file things. The $ went immediately back to us for things he owes us.

I was drained. So was husband! He got a good dose of it.

I could have chosen another time to remind difficult child about our conversation with-Dr. Riley (I don't even remember how it came up in the car) but don't know how successful it would have been if I'd done it at home. He would have smashed the computer and all the snowglobes. If it had been on the baseball field, he would have run away.
I'm always trying to outguess him and figure out the time to remind him or our plans, and I can never be sure he'll remember the original conversation (despite the fact he memorizes baseball scores, and can recite lb-for-lb exactly how much his weight has changed every day for the past month), or if he's convinced himself that we've forgotten. I can read The Explosive Child a million times and still never get it right.

husband insists difficult child took his pill. I think difficult child fooled him. difficult child even admitted to Ron at Juv Det that he hides his pills.

I suspect it was the accumulation of all the stress from the tour, the disappointment with-a crummy spring break, the unavailability of friends, and then the reminder that he couldn't play the entire game and that his coach knew that he was being disciplined and why. (In fact, the plan was that he was to tell the coach face-to-face why he was benched, and I thought I'd give him time to rehearse the whole thing. NOT!)

The good news is that the child psychiatric told us to keep piling things on difficult child until we found his trigger.
I found it! Baseball!

How ironic. I feel like I could have skipped the Juv Det tour. Then again, maybe not.

The part that most impressed difficult child about Juv Det, by the way, was the part about wearing someone else's stained, used underwear. He repeated that to husband several times. Now I know why Ron repeated it, too... that's the kind of thing that sinks in with-kids that age. It's concrete and easy to understand, gross (a boy thing!) and out-of-the norm. (He sized us up pretty quickly... difficult child was wearing his Little League shirt and cool shoes, and I was wearing a pink blazer and dress pants... I'm sure he lined up his mental ammunition the min. he laid eyes on us! )

We let difficult child play with-friends today, but 1st he had to help me garden (I threw my back out on Easter Sun.), trim vines off some trees, feed the dogs, start a homework project, and most of all, clean up all the junk in the back seat of my car and put it away neatly in the glove compartments. We played catch and batted outside today and had fun (especially since my back is better) and he was very funny. I was glad to be able to play because there's a huge Nor'easter coming in tonight and it will storm for a couple of days.


New Member
Wow -- very interesting! As I wrote in another thread, we took our first trip to the police station today to try to make real our threat of calling in the police if he kept up his rages. The officer talked alot to him about what Juv. Det. would be like, but boy.....a firsthand look like that would go a long way with my difficult child I think. How did you find out about getting a 'tour' like that?


Well-Known Member

I didn't know you took your difficult child to see Dr. Riley. I tried finding the post about it but couldn't. I've read his books and they helped me a great deal.

Our situations are very similar, we both have biological easy child's five years older than our adopted difficult child's. What is their relationship like? My easy child and difficult child do not get along to this day, difficult child is very jealous that easy child is biological.

I had to chuckle because when my difficult child had to spend the weekend in juvie detention, the thing that most disturbed her was that she had to wear their used underwear, granny panties. She thought that was gross. The judge sized up our situation also and guessed right, that our difficult child was going to get the shock of her lifetime in juvie, and all her tough talk about how she would do fine in juvie was just an act. She hated it, was scared out of her mind, cried real tears which she never did, and came out a changed kid. I was afraid she would think we were abandoning her and she would hate us for putting her there because we were dealing with some adoption issues at the time. But she didn't blame us at all and decided she didn't want to live that way anymore.

Your son's rages sound very much like our daughter's were. There were times when I had to pull the car over and wait for it to be over because she would open the door as the car was moving and kick and throw things in the car. In hindsight you probably shouldnot have reminded your son about Dr. Riley's conversation while driving the car. I often, even to this day, would remind my difficult child of some consequence if she continued to do what she was doing in the hopes that it would make her change her behavior. It never did/does. I would have been better off to save my breath and just let her face the consequences at the time.

I'm sorry I don't know what medications your son is on but have you tried a mood stabilzer? My difficult child has reacted very well to Lamictal. It is the only medication of all we have tried that has helped her control her impulses and anger. She no longer rages and we have had only a couple incidents where her anger has been out of control in the past year and those have been nothing like in the past.




Going Green
If you have a juvenile facility in your area, you can call and ask if they give tours. Sometimes even if they don't officially, sometimes you'll get an understanding soul who will give you an "unofficial" tour. Sometimes, you even get a good reaction from your child after the tour.

I did the same thing with my son when he was around 12. It made an impact on him in the moment, but pretty much as soon as the place was out of site it was out of mind for him. Since then, he's been there officially 2 or 3 times and it hasn't done a thing. Granted, our local juvie facility is pretty mild, relatively speaking, but still. I don't want to pull the rug out from underneath you but sometimes this stuff just doesn't get through. I hope it works for you, but just keep in mind that sometimes it doesn't.


Well-Known Member
I just saw that your son was on adderall. I would ask his dr about adding a mood stabilizer. My difficult child is also on starttera for her focus problems at school. I would be very hesitant to use adderall because of it's abuse potential, and we all know that children who are adopted have a high risk for substance abuse. Kids here sell their adderall pills for $5 each and they crush and snort them for a high.



Well-Known Member
glad you like Dr. Riley! I couldn't go to someone who didn't have a sense of humor. Perspective is everything.

Thinking back on it, I should have waited for the baseball reminder, but it's too late now. He's got very poor coping skills and I should have planned it out better, if indeed there was a feasible plan. At least, planned it so that I wasn't in the middle of traffic! There's still something very wrong with-a kid who goes over the edge like that. Anger, yes. Destructiveness, no.

We're at the point where we're considering bipolar but not quite there yet. The adderall works so well that I'm hesitant to try anything else. Also, we're having him tested for Asperger's this coming wk and I want to know what the neurologist says, first.

easy child and difficult child get along well most of the time, amazingly enough. I owe that to PCs incredible maturity and resilience. difficult child adores her and follows her around. I am SO lucky she is the oldest! They were sitting downstairs last night, talking about easy child's babysitting experience (she had just walked in the door, and the girls she sat for were spoiled and manipulative... when the parents came home, they did an about-face, hung all over easy child and told her how wonderful she was and begged their parents to have her back. Gag). She tells very good stories. difficult child was rapt.
They DO fight. BigTime. easy child was just reminding me the other day that she hasn't had anyone overnight for almost a yr because difficult child is so unpredictable and obnoxious.

In re: to how did I find out we could do tours... I don't know. It feels like I've always known. Maybe I read about the Scared Straight program in the paper. Even though they don't have it any more, they will make exceptions (as I learned, through a few well-placed, nice begging phonecalls)

PS Does anyone else have to post, and then edit to put in smiley faces? I can't do any of that the 1st time around, and noticed that my posts are some of the only ones that always say I've edited them.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sounds like an interesting visit-I hope it makes and impact even if it wasn't immediate. Hugs.


New Member
Terry, your post brings back memories. I too took my difficult child on a jail tour. And like another poster said, I think he forgot about it the moment we drove out of the parking lot


Well-Known Member
Gulp. :frown:
We'll see.
I'm having him tested for Asperger's Friday.
He's been very good today.
You just never know from day to day.


New Member
" I would be very hesitant to use adderall because of it's abuse potential, and we all know that children who are adopted have a high risk for substance abuse. Kids here sell their adderall pills for $5 each and they crush and snort them for a high"

I just wanted to add that many other drugs/medications are also stolen by thrill seeking kids to get high..........including straterra and xanax and concerta, ritalin, ativan, etc. We keep ALL rx and even OTC medications and vitamins under lock and key and medications must be taken with mom supervising administration and consumption -----originally it was to prevent accident poisoning of small children and pets, and later to prevent misuse and abuse potential.


Well-Known Member
difficult child brought up the subject tonight. We were cuddling in bed and he pulled the sheets up over his head like a little monk. He had round little lips, big eyes and soft skin. He looked like he was two again. I told him he was soooo cute... and he said, "Then you won't send me to Juv. Det."
"Why, they only have ugly kids?"
"No, but I know you won't send me because I'm cute."
"It's your behavior, not your looks."
"No, it's because I'm so cute."

Yeah, right. Prince Charming for sure.