Visit at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for family counseling - Sad boy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DavidWH, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    Wow what I day or the few hours have seemed like a full day.

    I show up at the camp and they are in a Christmas show - he gets to come and sit with me outside and visit until the show is over.

    I gave him his congratulations on getting to the next level and his new watch, as he was promised once he made this level.

    Then the "What do I need to do to come home" stuff started up again... it would not die... he wants exactly what he needs to do to come home... He is doing so well, and of course everyone is saying to him how proud they are, but you have these little things to work on, just continue to work the program...

    He wants a date... he wants a time frame, and exactly what he needs to do to get me to take him home... His attitude is good and he was being respectful and allowing me to talk... I just keep repeating, Son you will know when your ready to come home for good, and the first sign is when you do not ask me what you need to do to do so.

    Then the counselor came out and saved me.... phew

    He said he got his Christmas pass a full 12 hours for sure now. So he decided he wants to do his home pass for the 12 hours on this Sunday and then I can come and do a Christmas visit with him on Christmas day, Since most of the other boys parents will be here then as well. He said that way I can see you two times Daddy... I agreed to this, it was OK with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and he is not only one doing it this way.. per the counselor.

    In the office to talk... he has a long sad face, I could tell holding back tears... She asked what he was thinking.. and BAM

    What do I need to do to go home??? I have done this and that and it just seems that no matter what I do it is never enough you always want more... (tears are screaming to come out) I keep my mouth shut... she explains just about same thing I have each visit.. this goes on for almost the whole hour!!!

    I finally explain to him that my rule for Sunday will be none of this... I am not able to answer with a date on when you can come home... (I compared it to Bush not giving a date to bring troops home) it is not something I can do that will be a benifit to you Son.

    We have another 20 mins to talk, and hang out, sad once again, I ask him Honey why are you so sad when I am here with you.. he says because I do not like it when you have to leave -

    We walk out to the parking lot with counselor to say Good bye... such a sad boy... I felt an extra tight hug and I had to just walk away saying, I love you Justin.. I will see you Sunday...

    What a long drive home this was...

    I just can not seem to say the right thing... to ease his mind..

    And he is trying so hard... and doing SO well - but still I know a baby in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we have more to go before "real World" would be managable

    Add: Something else is STRANGE.. he does not seem to care about Christmas presents... he is asking for NOTHING not one thing (but a pair of boots a few weeks ago) not one word -
  2. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Gentle hugs your way. Those visits to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s can be very difficult when they get in the when can I come home mode. At some point I am guessing you are going to have to stop addressing it all together if it becomes a problem. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sending you an extra tight hug via cyber space. Some of the
    interactions are so painful and full of unresolved questions and
    issues that you end up repeating them in your own head...with no
    answers either. Many of us understand your position just like war veterans understand each other...Bush or no Bush.

    Sunday AND Tuesday sounds like a great holiday combo. Try not to
    focus on how these holidays "should have been". Instead, be thankful that it is possible to share some time. Hugs. DDD
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    One thing I found is holidays are what we make them. It doesn't matter where we are or what we have, it is our hearts that make a holiday special. So, spending Saturday together and then Christmas with the other boys and families sounds like a great deal. Enjoy both days.

    You used a good analogy about the troops and your son. Both are waging a war. Neither knows when it will end.

    One thing that helped my daughter was I gave her very specific things she needed to work on. I also would tell her that it was not up to just me but up to the entire team even though I did have the freedom to remove her when I wanted. I wanted her to have a chance at true success and that wasn't going to happen if I followed my heart. It had to be a meeting of the collective minds and my heart.

    Do remind him he has only moved up one level. While you are proud that he has made this level, there are still things he must work on. One major thing is that other levels will give him more freedoms and give him a chance to show he has learned to control his anger and impulses so that bad choices don't continue. He has not yet learned those lessons. They come over time.

    If he is typical, he will backslide. It is hard to maintain a level in the beginning. Like learning to walk, it takes practice to remember everything all the time. He'll get frustrated, angry, blame you, the staff, the world.

    You're doing great and so is he.

  5. Janna

    Janna New Member

    David :crying:

    I can completely relate to you. My Dylan has been in the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) since August 13th, almost as long as your difficult child has been. It has been a devastating, traumatic experience for all of us, but in many other aspects, has been wonderful.

    The Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) Dylan is in is an 8-12 month program. They actually worry me, because they have given HIM a release date of May 13th, 2008. But, what if...?

    We went for a brunch the other week and I was talking to another parent who's son had been in there for almost 2 years - they keep extending his release date because he's aggressive.

    I hope that doesn't happen to my son, would be an awful disappointment to him.

    Anyway ~ off topic. I think it's great your son has made some good changes, but, he should know what he needs to do to be released. He should have a therapist or counselor or something that should have a PLAN with GOALS written out for him and you so that you all know what he is to be working on and how his progress is made. You do not have this?

    If not, I'd be asking for it. Dylan has very specific goals that he is working on. For example - school, staying in class all day 80% of the time. Another example - when he is angry, using his coping skills to channel his anger appropriately. Not one time. Not three times. CONSISTENTLY. If he showed me something once or twice I wouldn't be convinced. I'd want to see it over an amount of time. Maybe this is what the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is looking for?

    This is hearbreaking. I cry every single time I drop off Dylan. I cry every time he's here. I cry almost every evening when I talk to him.

    Just know that you are doing the best thing for your son, and your son sounds to be learning some really great life skills that are going to help him improve. When he asks you again when, exactly, he is getting out, you need to gently remind him that he's in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) working on a treatment plan, and tell him to ask the counselor. That takes the burden off your lap and places it where it belongs.

    Sending understanding hugs.
  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hugs to you AND Justin.

    Poor kid. He wants concrete answers. Something tangible that he can hold onto. And he does not get why that is not possible.

    Wise of you to make it a stipulation for him not to dwell on it during his visit. He should be able to enjoy his time home, and not spend it worrying.

    You're one heck of a dad, David.
  7. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    Janna You make great points... and I would love to tell him what he needs to do..

    First.. honestly I do not know what else he needs to do....

    I tell him.. my concerns about school suspensions 12 to 18 times a year, being evicted 3 times in a year and a half and losing 2 jobs due to all that has gone on, and explain Daddy is getting help too... even brin up this site and you wonderful folks! (getting support and advice)

    With my Son... he is smart as a whip.. my fear is IF I tell him.. you do this and you do that.. and you will come home...


    but will it be real??

    I am very proud about is upgrade in a level at Residential Treatment Center (RTC)... not because he got it, but becuase he got it SOOOO long after he was there... most kids get it with in a month of being placed... I told him.. to me it means more it took you this long.. becuase you EARNED this and I have no question in my mind that you really earned it... becuase you worked at it...

    after the first few months of fighting the system ... he may see his way was a losing battle ( did not say the last sentence to him)

    He called me tonight after my first post.. here.... even though he could have called his Uncle (which he asked if he could today since he saw me today!!) he said, Daddy I do not want to spend the whole phone call on this.. but please tell me what you want... I simply told him.. Justin, you have not even been on a home pass yet, do you think for Dad you can do that and lets try this with one another before you ask? How Do you know what it will be like, yes the 12 hour pass will go great I am sure.. but you need to do more home passes lets see how they go...

    Sorry guys... (gals) I know what I need to do... but man it does not make it easy
  8. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Nope, it's not easy. And the home visits, even in 12 hour increments, won't tell you much, David. It sounds like you've been through alot with your son. He needs to show you, at home, in school, that he is willing to work hard at his changes.

    He is in school at this Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? What are they reporting to you?

    Tomorrow, I think you should call whoever he is working the closest with, whether that be a counselor, a caseworker, whatever. Ask them exactly what their goals are for your son, and how he is making progress on those goals. I'd also ask about their plans for sending him home. The way our Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) works is, the children are allowed 48 days home in a calendar year. This is because if the child is spending so much time at home, the insurance company wonders why they're in the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF). Understandable. So what the Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) does is, they have been sending Dylan home on one night passes or weekend passes, holding off some, and then toward the end when he's due to come home, he will come home MORE, so we can all see how he's going to do. Maybe this is their plan for your son too? Do you know?

    It sounds like you need to be more in the loop of what their plans are for your boy. The goals, the treatment plan, whatever you want to call it. Find out. It will help you both.

    I know it hurts. But when he comes out, hopefully he comes out a better person and all the pain is going to be replaced with happiness and better memories.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hugs for your heart - you painted a picture that has been my life with my son so many Christmas holidays.

    I will tell you this because I learned the hard way and NOW even the experts will tell you the same regarding a discharge date:

    DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO BE VAGUE ABOUT IT as even the slightest hint of a release date will sabotage your sons chances to do the real work that needs to be done to get out.

    When/If he asks again? What do I have to do to get out? Get out your copy of the parent hand book and turn to level 2. Then read the rules for making it to the next level. And say "Hey It's a start, when you came here you weren't even on level 1" You're doing very well.

    And if the wining persists with tears and then comes the You don't love me, they're treating me badly, you need to come get me, I'm going to die in heres - just hang up. Cry when you need to and deal with it the best you can. During this time it's a good idea to have someone to talk to.

    Just don't EVER even say - well you can only stay 18 months. Or You can come home when your better. Just keep saying things like" Well you have to earn your way out" or "What do you think is the hardest thing about this level? or That was sure a hard level you conquered - good job. THinks like that -

    And any home visits you have - BEFORE You leave the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that day sit down in the day room and discuss THE RULES and the consequences for him to stay the whole time. I hate to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge - but we had a 3 hour drive one year. THe first home visit we were just so happy to see him home, have his things, sleep in his bed, enjoy peace and quiet - we let him get away with ALL kinds of stuff. The second visit was Christmas - and we did it again. The second Christmas - we weren't even allowed to see him. Talk about killing you slowly. And by the fourth home visit in February we kept the tree up and celebrated Christmas then as if it were Dec. 25 and not Valentines day.

    But that visit - we explained the rules and it was a 5 hour drive for us. Morning - great, breakfast, gifts, playtime and about 4 that evening - no control so we loaded up, without hesitation and took him back - our next visit? Much better especially when we said "And the rules are, and if you don't comply you WILL go back" he believed us. If you forgive behavior on your Christmas visit = almost understandable - but keep what I've told you in mind.

    Hope it works out for you all - hugs for your poor son. Congrats on the level - my son has been in numerous institutions and never made a level 2 ever - I'm rootin' for your kid!

  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    David: I haven't been in your position, but I wanted to stop by and let you know I'm thinking of you.

    Keep you chin up, give Justin some real big hugs and let him know that every day that he does the right thing, he's getting closer to getting to come home. No, you don't know a date, because the date will be set once he proves that he'll make the right decisions on a regular basis. So there's no way YOU can give him a date because he has to complete the program.


  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I'm going to be brutally honest with you this morning. I'm sure that your difficult children emotion, sadness & eagerness to know what needs to be done to get home is genuine at the moment. A parent's heart will break while a difficult child will beg to know, promise to make the changes necessary.

    And saying that, I watched both of my children in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) setting. It's hard - the structure is more than any home can provide. And they HAD to work the program; HAD to graduate to come home.

    My son wm, especially, was & is always looking for the easy way or shortcut to get around a rule or learn a new skill. wm can & will tell you why he isn't living at home; he will hold it together for an hour or two visit but when it comes to the day to day of that same skill wm cannot do it. He doesn't even try unless husband or I are visiting. That isn't to say that wm's emotions & expressed desires aren't honest or real at the time.

    That is the point - it's at THAT point in time. It's forgotten or becomes too hard to even try after husband or I have left.

    My honest reply to kt or wm when I visited at Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - "you need to work the program & graduate". I agreed with both of them how hard it is to do this (change is hard) & I would say this once & with little emotion. The tweedles learned quickly that if this turned into a whine fest that husband & I would be leaving.

    Did this break my heart? Darned right! Did it turn it around? For the most part it has.

    wm, to this day, asks each visit. wm, now answers the question himself before I can even attempt to answer. He knows - he also knows that he has to be in this for the long haul.

    David - I hope you have a wonderful visit with your difficult child over the holiday. I hope your difficult child learns that the program must be worked.
  12. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I agree with Star about even hinting at a discharge date. My dtr's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) had a long section in our handbook about this. The fact that your son seems to be obsessed with when he can come home surely means he is no where ready to do so. At my dtr's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) they were not told their discharge date til just a few weeks before it was to happen so they wouldn't become obsessed with it.
    I think you are doing a great job though--you are not succumbing to the pressure from him!

    Also, at my dtr's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) it was expected that they would lose levels, in fact, the staff would sort of set them up sometimes--they seemed to learn the most when they lost a level or a visit from home or had a visit to home cancelled. A kid who rose through the levels without much difficulty was not really working--just going through the motions and doing what they thought would get them out of there faster.

    Star gave great advice on those home visits too--so easy to want to go overboard with making things nice for them and letting them get away with stuff because you are so happy to have them home.

    This whole situation is so tough for you. Thinking of you, please keep us updated.

  13. DavidWH

    DavidWH New Member

    Thanks Ladies...

    A couple of answers.... Yes he is in school and I do get reports.. He was very far behind (if they have bad behaviour they are not allowed in school building) since the first couple of months he fought the system he missed tons of work. But as of yesterday all the teachers said he is almost fully caught up and turning in the work and doing all he should be doing.

    As far as what he needs to do or a plan... The level system gives them the plan on what to do.. do this to gain this privledge so on and so on.. Biggest issue with it is most parents remove the kids before they graduate because the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) has an after care program (free of charge, amazing huh) that allows the kid to continue to work the program and graduate.

    As far as his home visit.. a few weeks ago I told him already.. any issues at all and I will get back in the truck and take him back as soon as it happens... I feel he knows that I will not allow anything to happen.. if so the visit will end.. (Am sure will be very hard to do but I will do it, for his own good)

    I have expressed to him that Daddy is making positive changes too he is not in this alone... so do not think you can come home and things will be like they were before you left...
  14. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    David, I'm impressed at how well you are handling all of this. You're saying all the right things, doing as much as you humanly can. Having been in your shoes, I know how hard that is.

    I do remember the first time I had to leave in the middle of a visit with my daughter. It broke my heart. I drove down the mountain (very windy road) with tears streaming non-stop. I was still sobbing when I got on the plane to fly home. I had to keep reminding myself I was doing this for her, not me. She had to learn there were other people in the world besides her and she could not say whatever hateful thing she thought up. I never had to leave a visit again.

    Her first visit home was an unmitigated disaster. I would have sent her back to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) about 15 minutes after she walked in the door but there wasn't a flight available. She came in and all of the attitude, anger, volatility came in with her. She resented that she couldn't go to the mall or call her friends (against the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) rules for home visits). She resented that she would have chores at home. She resented everything rule and restriction put on her. Considering she had signed a contract prior to the home visit listing all rules of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and me, her behavior was way over the line. It really was a testing by her to see what she could get away with. It was an eyeopener for me and showed how far she had to go with the program and how little she had actually worked it. When she returned to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), she dropped 3 levels because of the vist. It took another 6 months before she could come home again. She was a totally different young lady the second time around.

    So, do be prepared for anything. He may come home and be as good as gold. He may try to manipulate you (and any family members who come to visit such as your mother) any way he can. Whatever happens, be strong.

    You'll get as much pain out of the visit as you will joy. It hurts to know your child is in someone else's care, especially during holidays. To know that he will have to return and be away from you is heartwrenching. I think this is even more true for we single parents of only children. We really do put our lives into our one child.

    I hope this weekend is a good visit. Do have all plans and contingencies in place. Good luck!
  15. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I remember all too well those drives home after visiting Youngest at Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I think I left her in tears almost every time. I remember the questions about "when," also. I remember cringing when she'd say she was flying up the levels faster than anyone had before. She ended up being discharged after 4 months, which I felt was way too soon (and my feeling was confirmed when she was busted for smoking pot on the 2nd day of school, less than a week after she got out of Residential Treatment Center (RTC)).

    Hang in there. You've been given lots of good, solid advice here.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    :fan: GO TEAM (insert last name)

    -Just do yourself a favor - TELL HIM in front of witnesses BEFORE YOU BRING HIM HOME on Christmas Day or Eve if they will allow - the rules ONE MORE TIME - and if time permits - repeat the rules (Despite all the eye rolling, huffy demeanor and yeah-yeah's)

    Don't expect him to remember or know ANYTHING that you said unless it was THAT DAY - otherwise you may suffer the wrath of "Okay, okay, okay, okay Dad I promise, I won't do it again, pleaaaaaaase." and then you REALLY feel like a heal when you get in the truck - and that long silent ride - a sure killer.

    I think I must have cried harder the first time we drove, and dropped him off and tried to be stern. I think possibly cried so hard there was a wine cooler involved after a good hug. One wine cooler and I was out cold for 3 hours.